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

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Other Words from impale

impalement \ im-​ˈpāl-​mənt How to pronounce impalement (audio) \ noun
impaler \ im-​ˈpā-​lər How to pronounce impaler (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 The team found the remains of a 17- to 25-year-old man who had been ritually impaled with 10 iron and bone spears about 200 feet away from the warrior’s burial site. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Unearth Celtic Warrior Grave Complete With Chariot, Elaborate Shield," 10 Dec. 2019 Mullis’ attorney suggested that Amy Mullis startled someone in the farm’s shed where she was found, prompting that person to impale her in the back with a corn rake while Todd Mullis was working in a nearby barn. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jurors convict Iowa farmer in corn rake killing of wife," 23 Sep. 2019 Impeachment is being reinvented as way of presidential life that will supposedly impale Trump one day or at least constrain him, as occasional additional writs are added on, as the polls, media, and Democratic fancy dictate. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Impeachment Fallouts," 31 Dec. 2019 Not even if your girlfriend is getting fisted on the regular or impaled by a dozen swarthy men brandishing wine bottles. Anna Pulley,, "Ask Anna: Should I have sex with a woman when I’m happy with my boyfriend?," 14 Oct. 2019 At the home of Dennis and Laura Coffee in the same Whispering Winds neighborhood, metal supports designed to hold up their mobile home impaled the floor. Brian Rokos, The Mercury News, "Frazzled nerves keep families awake in Ridgecrest, where the earthquakes got larger, not smaller," 6 July 2019 The complaint Garnett filed here in Minnesota listed a menagerie of ventures, including what appeared to be a tavern, vineyards, a wine magazine and the same cosmetics firm that also impaled Duncan. Lee Schafer,, "Adrian Peterson shows why pro athletes need to be careful with their money," 20 Sep. 2019 Late last month, President Donald Trump signed a bill that made deliberately crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise torturing an animal a federal crime. Ted Diadiun, cleveland, "Why do we need a law to keep people from torturing animals?," 6 Dec. 2019 The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT Act, bans abusive behavior including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and other bodily injury toward any non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Trump signs bill making animal cruelty a federal felony," 25 Nov. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for impale

Time Traveler

The first known use of impale was in 1605

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Statistics for impale

Last Updated

5 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for impale


How to pronounce impale (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of impale

: to cause a pointed object to go into or through (someone or something)


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

Kids Definition of impale

: to pierce with something pointed

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More from Merriam-Webster on impale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impale

Spanish Central: Translation of impale

Nglish: Translation of impale for Spanish Speakers

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