from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To pierce with a sharp stake or point.
  • transitive v. To torture or kill by impaling.
  • transitive v. To render helpless as if by impaling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to pierce with a pale; to put to death by fixing on a sharp stake.
  • v. more generally, to pierce (something) with any long, pointed object.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To pierce with a pale; to put to death by fixing on a sharp stake. See empale.
  • transitive v. To inclose, as with pales or stakes; to surround.
  • transitive v. To join, as two coats of arms on one shield, palewise; hence, to join in honorable mention.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fix upon a stake; drive or thrust a sharpened stake through: an ancient and Oriental mode of capital punishment.
  • Hence Figuratively, to render helpless as if pierced through or impaled: as, to impale a person upon his own argument or upon the horns of a dilemma.
  • To surround or inclose with or as with stakes, posts, or palisades.
  • In heraldry, to display side by side on one shield, separated palewise each from the other, as when the arms of husband and wife are represented together.
  • Hence — To place side by side as of similar importance and signification.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. kill by piercing with a spear or sharp pole
  • v. pierce with a sharp stake or point


Medieval Latin impālāre : Latin in-, in; see in-2 + Latin pālus, stake; see pag- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin impālāre, from Latin palus. (Wiktionary)


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