I have joined the wing, father, and I have imped the feathers; but I fear it will be Christmas ere she can fly again.
This is when the broken feather is to be imped merely for the purpose of the moult.
If there has been a broken feather, the damaged hawk must be imped.
When only the tip of a wing feather is gone it would of course be only for the sake of appearances that it would be imped.
Old English impe, impa "young shoot, graft," from impian "to graft," probably an early West Germanic borrowing from Vulgar Latin *imptus, from Late Latin impotus "implanted," from Greek emphytos, verbal adjective formed from emphyein "implant," from em- "in" + phyein "to plant" (see physic).
Sense of "child, offspring" (late 14c.) came from transfer of word from plants to people, with notion of "newness" preserved. Modern meaning "little devil" (1580s) is from common use in pejorative phrases like imp of Satan.
Suche appereth as aungelles, but in very dede they be ymps of serpentes. ["The Pilgrimage of Perfection," 1526]