im·​pale | \ im-ˈpāl How to pronounce impale (audio) \
impaled; impaling

Definition of impale

transitive verb

1a : to pierce with or as if with something pointed especially : to torture or kill by fixing on a sharp stake
b : to fix in an inescapable or helpless position
2 : to join (coats of arms) on a heraldic shield divided vertically by a pale

Other Words from impale

impalement \ im-​ˈpāl-​mənt How to pronounce impale (audio) \ noun
impaler \ im-​ˈpā-​lər How to pronounce impale (audio) \ noun

Examples of impale in a Sentence

impale a marshmallow or two on that stick and let's start toasting
Recent Examples on the Web While there’s nothing on an Edmontosaurus that can impale or bash a tyrannosaur, hadrosaurs can still deliver powerful kicks and thrashes that can break bone. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Apr. 2022 Wanda might impale Balder the Brave in the Illuminati reality. Chris Smith, BGR, 26 Apr. 2022 Can impale the skulls of intruders with professionalism and a positive attitude. Patrick Clair, The New Yorker, 20 Jan. 2022 But anyone who has ever clung onto one during a particularly enthusiastic sea breeze knows how quickly the beachside staple can turn into an airborne weapon, flying off to impale an unsuspecting sunbather. Stephanie Krikorian, WSJ, 11 Aug. 2021 Each of her glass slippers is outfitted with a nail that would impale the heel of any would-be princess. Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2021 Some tree stands have a spike in the middle on which to impale the tree; others use adjustable bolts or fasteners to hold it upright. Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2020 The team of survivors work together to repair generators, while the killer attempts to catch the survivors and impale their bodies on giant hooks strewn across the map. Reece Rogers, Wired, 27 Oct. 2020 Teeth, engineered to impale and hold struggling prey, sliced a vein below his elbow. Kimberly Miller, USA TODAY, 19 June 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of impale

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for impale

Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French empaler, from Medieval Latin impalare, from Latin in- + palus stake — more at pole

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Last Updated

30 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Impale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for impale


im·​pale | \ im-ˈpāl How to pronounce impale (audio) \
impaled; impaling

Kids Definition of impale

: to pierce with something pointed

More from Merriam-Webster on impale

Nglish: Translation of impale for Spanish Speakers


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