im·​pale | \ im-ˈpāl \
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 \ noun
impaler \ im-​ˈpā-​lər \ 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 this case, the biggest one comes right at the top: after getting thrown off a horse, impaled by rebar, and cornered by two hordes of zombies, Rick manages to escape! Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead has condemned itself for all time," 5 Nov. 2018 Rick could survive his surprise impaling and actually die in some other fashion in the next episode. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead just pulled its best switcheroo in years," 29 Oct. 2018 The pair challenge each other to a Gladiator-style duel (in which episode host Adam Driver also becomes an unintended casualty) that ends with Davidson impaling Mooney with a sword. Zoe Weiner, Glamour, "SNL Epically Roasted Cast Member Pete Davidson About His Summer With Ariana Grande," 30 Sep. 2018 The bronze statue depicting a Polish soldier gagged, bound and impaled in the back with a bayonet in the 1940 Soviet massacre will be moved to a new location on the Hudson River, sparing it from storage and an uncertain fate. Washington Post, "Polish president meets with mayor on statue removal dispute," 16 May 2018 Rescue workers who raced to the scene could hear people moaning and crying, pinned beneath concrete slabs, impaled with steel girders, suffocating from dust. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Rise of the Victims’-Rights Movement," 14 May 2018 The Lycra-Legged Screamer swerved, clipped a nun on a Unicycle and was impaled on a selfie stick. Joyce Wadler, New York Times, "E.T. Doesn’t Like the Bike Path Either," 18 June 2018 Lawyers Matthew Rabin and Shaun Serelson represent a driver and passenger injured when a metal rod impaled their car within the I-4 work zone. Kevin Spear,, "I-4 construction nightmares: Drivers seeking payment for car damage face daunting odds," 13 July 2018 Some of them have tennis balls impaled on the curved metal runners at the front, called kufens. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: USA Luge's search for next great Winter Olympian visits Indianapolis," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for impale

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impale

The first known use of impale was in 1605

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More Definitions for impale



English Language Learners Definition of impale

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


im·​pale | \ im-ˈpāl \
impaled; impaling

Kids Definition of impale

: to pierce with something pointed

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More from Merriam-Webster on impale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
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