im·​pound | \ im-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce impound (audio) \
impounded; impounding; impounds

Definition of impound

transitive verb

1a : to shut up in or as if in a pound : confine
b : to seize and hold in the custody of the law
c : to take possession of she was dismissed and her manuscript impounded— Jonathan Weiner
2 : to collect and confine (water) in or as if in a reservoir

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of impound in a Sentence

The police impounded her car because it was illegally parked. impound evidence for a trial

Recent Examples on the Web

In Denver, city officials are busy writing regulations and are impounding scooters found creating a public nuisance. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "In the Scooter Wars of 2018, it's not really about the scooters," 21 June 2018 The California city of Coronado, near San Diego, banned dockless bikes last year and last month started impounding bikes left on sidewalks and beaches, charging $45 fee for their return. Scott Kirsner,, "Dockless rental bikes — lots of them — are coming this summer," 28 Apr. 2018 Officials impounded 23 scooters, with the acting mayor declaring the city wouldn’t allow unregulated businesses to operate. Mike Cherney, WSJ, "Lime Looks to Peddle Its Bicycles in Australia," 16 Jan. 2019 Police impounded the embassy car as part of the investigation. Washington Post, "Pakistan summons US envoy over deadly crash," 8 Apr. 2018 The bus's owner arrived in a truck as police officers were impounding the bus, Eisses wrote. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage pays $20K in compensation after city improperly tows and crushes a man’s bus," 7 Feb. 2018 Both Italy and Malta have blocked aid groups from operating rescue boats in the Mediterranean, either by refusing them entry to their ports or by impounding their vessels and putting their crews under investigation. Samy Magdy, The Seattle Times, "Rescue group: Libya left migrants to die in Mediterranean," 17 July 2018 Bibaud was then slated for arraignment in Middlesex County on Oct. 30, and the arrest report was impounded, the complaint says. Travis Andersen,, "Lawsuit alleges DA ‘directed’ conspiracy in State Police scandal," 22 June 2018 The city council in October amended the municipal code to allow police to detain anyone seen operating the vehicles in Hartford, to impound the bikes and to eventually dispose of them. Christine Dempsey,, "Ten Arrested During ATV, Dirt Bike Roundup In Hartford, City Says," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impound.' 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 impound

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impound

Statistics for impound

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impound

The first known use of impound was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for impound



Financial Definition of impound

What It Is

In the real estate world, an impound is an account that mortgage companies use to collect property taxes, homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance and other payments that are required by the homeowner but are not part of principal and interest. Impound accounts are also called escrow accounts.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe buys a house and borrows $100,000. The interest rate is 4%, and the loan is a 30-year mortgage. His monthly payment is $477.42, which includes interest and principal.

John Doe didn't put down 20%, so the lender requires an impound account. Every month, another $250 is deducted automatically from John's checking account and put in the impound account. This ensures that the money is there to pay the insurance and property tax bills when they arrive every six months.

Why It Matters

Impound accounts mitigate a lender's risk because they ensure that the homeowner won't lose the house (which is the bank's collateral for the mortgage) due to tax liens or unpaid insurance bills. Usually, the mortgage lender is responsible for paying the tax and insurance bills out of the impound account on time; however, if the mortgage lender fails to do so, the homeowner is still on the hook.

Usually, lenders require impound accounts when the borrower puts down less than 20% on a house. If the borrower puts down more than 20%, impound accounts aren't always required, though they are often convenient for ensuring that the bills are paid.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of impound

: to use legal powers to get and hold (something)


im·​pound | \ im-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce impound (audio) \
impounded; impounding

Kids Definition of impound

: to shut up in or as if in an enclosed place impound cattle

Keep scrolling for more


transitive verb
im·​pound | \ im-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce impound (audio) \

Legal Definition of impound

: to take control of in the custody of the law or by legal authority impound a vehicle the police impounded the dwelling until the search warrant was obtained

Other Words from impound

impoundment noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on impound

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impound

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impound

Spanish Central: Translation of impound

Nglish: Translation of impound for Spanish Speakers

Comments on impound

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


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

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!