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impale

[im-peyl]
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verb (used with object), im·paled, im·pal·ing.
  1. to fasten, stick, or fix upon a sharpened stake or the like.
  2. to pierce with a sharpened stake thrust up through the body, as for torture or punishment.
  3. to fix upon, or pierce through with, anything pointed.
  4. to make helpless as if pierced through.
  5. Archaic. to enclose with or as if with pales or stakes; fence in; hem in.
  6. Heraldry.
    1. to marshal (two coats of arms, as the family arms of a husband and wife) on an escutcheon party per pale.
    2. (of a coat of arms) to be combined with (another coat of arms) in this way.
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Also empale (for defs 1–5).

Origin of impale

1545–55; < Medieval Latin impālāre, equivalent to Latin im- im-1 + pāl(us) pale2 + -ā- thematic vowel + -re infinitive ending
Related formsim·pal·er, nounim·pale·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for impalement

Historical Examples

  • Since the marriage of Alroy, there had never been such a merry morn as the day of his impalement.

    Alroy

    Benjamin Disraeli

  • And he gave orders that he should be put to death by impalement next morning.

    The Kath Sarit Sgara

    Somadeva Bhatta

  • Chiefest of all, the impalement of the old Raimondi on Marta's knife.

    A Likely Story

    William De Morgan

  • But impalement as we now know it was preceded by dimidiation.

    A Complete Guide to Heraldry

    Arthur Charles Fox-Davies

  • Some are said to have survived their impalement as much as forty-eight hours.

    Herzegovina

    George Arbuthnot


British Dictionary definitions for impalement

impale

empale

verb (tr)
  1. (often foll by on, upon, or with) to pierce with a sharp instrumentthey impaled his severed head on a spear
  2. archaic to enclose with pales or fencing; fence in
  3. heraldry to charge (a shield) with two coats of arms placed side by side
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Derived Formsimpalement or empalement, nounimpaler or empaler, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Medieval Latin impālāre, from Latin im- (in) + pālus pale ²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for impalement

n.

1590s, from French empalement, from empaler (see impale).

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impale

v.

1520s, "to enclose with stakes, fence in," from Middle French empaler and directly from Medieval Latin impalare "to push onto a stake," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + Latin palus "a stake, prop, stay; wooden post, pole," from PIE *pak-slo-, from root *pag-/*pak- "to fasten" (see pact). Sense of "pierce with a pointed stake" (as torture or punishment) first recorded 1610s. Related: Impaled; impaling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper