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

Definition of impale

transitive verb

1 : to join (coats of arms) on a heraldic shield divided vertically by a pale
2a : 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

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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 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-humans. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "House passes bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony," 23 Oct. 2019 This rogue’s gallery suggests that a lineup of heads impaled on poles looks a lot like a string of likenesses hung in a portrait museum. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: From artist Timothy Johnson, a heady exhibition," 18 Oct. 2019 His son later found his mom hunched over in a nearby barn, impaled on the rake. Dave Quinn,, "Iowa Farmer Found Guilty of Killing Wife With Corn Rake," 24 Sep. 2019 The couple’s 14-year-old son found his mother impaled on the rake inside a shed after Mullis asked him to check on her, according to the paper. Fox News, "Iowa farmer convicted of murdering wife with corn rake after learning of secret affair," 24 Sep. 2019 Winter in Scottish snow-and-ice gullies, attempting to avoid both hypothermia and being impaled by the crampons of your falling climbing partner. Ben Santer, Scientific American, "Rock Climbing, Climate Science and Leadership," 16 Sep. 2019 The longtime resident said the deer that was impaled last week wasn’t an isolated incident. Matthew Pera, The Mercury News, "Tiburon woman seeks ban on spiked fences after deer impalement," 24 Aug. 2019 Some cars were impaled by flying pieces of wood and steel. NBC News, "In Abaco Islands, lives shattered by Hurricane Dorian's devastation to the Bahamas," 8 Sep. 2019 In that episode, emergency room physicians are kept busy with injuries from the Dead Baby race, including a bike messenger impaled with spokes. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Dead Baby Bikes Downhill brings ‘gleeful mayhem’ to Seattle streets," 3 Aug. 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 1

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

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Impale.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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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