Definitions

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

Etymologies

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)

Examples

  • Fleming, a three-time Grammy Award winner who specializes in opera and lieder, provided constructive criticism to the singers after each of their individual performances in the master class, which was organized by the Office for the Arts. The American artist challenged the four student performers-Bridget Haile '11, M.chael D. Cherella' 11, Francesca R.L. Reindel '11, and Sofia M. Selowsky' 12-to "get out of the comfort zone" and to "impale" audience members with their singing.

    The Harvard Crimson | All Articles

  • Inspired by the classic magic trick of sticking knives (and not killing anyone), it features wooden “swords” that “impale” the unit as supports or racks for your clothes.

    Closet Organizers Inspiration

  • Love that she was powerful enough to send Damon flying and impale him on a tree.

    'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Damon's plan revealed | EW.com

  • People passed between them holding umbrellas like lances, ready to impale body parts in their way, but she paid them no attention.

    Bliss

  • Take your umbrella to the bookfest and be prepared to impale anyone who stands in your way on a rusty metal spike.

    Cheeseburger Gothic » Newly renovated Ladies Lounge.

  • It's not going to impale you on its tree of thorns, y'know

    It's not going to impale you on its tree of thorns, y'know

  • You cannot impale your main character through the heart and have him continue to frolic about.

    Terminator Offers Some Lessons for the Salvation of Your Novel

  • Parmenion in particular must have yearned to impale this turncoat on a pole after losing so many of his men to the Persian in battle, but Alexander was more circumspect.

    Alexander the Great

  • If we extend this fact back in time, we can imagine how cultured and intelligent this class was then, and impale ourselves on the conundrum of how it was so easily overridden by National Socialist barbarity.

    I predict a riot

  • Rytlock roared as he strode over his victims to impale another.

    GuildWars Edge of Destiny

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