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

Keep scrolling for more

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 In October, Streisand tweeted a cartoon of Nancy Pelosi impaling Trump with her stiletto heel. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "‘One-man weapon of mass destruction’: Barbra Streisand begs US not to reelect Trump," 3 Mar. 2020 Since 2002, at least 29 dolphins in the Southeast United States have been shot by guns or arrows or purposefully impaled with fishing spears, including four incidents within the past year. Jon Haworth, ABC News, "Dead dolphins with gunshot, stab wounds wash ashore and authorities want to know why," 12 Feb. 2020 In 2018, a British tourist relaxing on a beach in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, was struck by a flying umbrella that impaled her ankle; rescuers had to use bolts cutters to free her. Washington Post, "NJ bill would make beachgoers fasten umbrellas to the sand," 26 Feb. 2020 Other photos taken at the scene of the accident show firefighters and police offers surrounding the white vehicle, as well as one of a firefighter holding up the long metal bar that impaled the woman’s leg. Joelle Goldstein,, "Passenger Survives After Being Impaled by Metal Bar That Fell Off Truck on Busy California Highway," 4 Nov. 2019 There have been at least 29 dolphins evidently impaled or shot by guns or arrows since 2002. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Two dolphins with gunshot and stab wounds wash up in Florida," 12 Feb. 2020 One woman died after impaling herself with a metal straw. Alyson Krueger, New York Times, "Do You Really Need a Straw With That?," 7 Oct. 2019 Tabor, a pipefitter, crashed into a fence and was impaled in the abdomen by a two-inch pole. Fox News, "Texas man calls 911 after being impaled by two-inch fence post during car crash, reports say," 20 Feb. 2020 In May 2019, for example, a bottlenose dolphin that was impaled by a spear-like object in its head was found dead off Captiva Island. New York Times, "Finding Dolphins Shot and Stabbed, Authorities Offer $20,000 for Help," 12 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impale

Time Traveler for impale

Time Traveler

The first known use of impale was in 1605

See more words from the same year

Statistics for impale

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on impale

What made you want to look up impale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!