[verb im-pound; noun im-pound]

verb (used with object)

to shut up in a pound or other enclosure, as a stray animal.
to confine within an enclosure or within limits: water impounded in a reservoir.
to seize and retain in custody of the law, as a document for evidence.


money, property, etc., that has been impounded: a sale of impounds by the police department.

Origin of impound

First recorded in 1545–55; im-3 + pound3
Related formsim·pound·a·ble, adjectiveim·pound·er, nounun·im·pound·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for impound

imprison, seize, keep, pen, enclose, take, hold, cage

Examples from the Web for impound

Contemporary Examples of impound

Historical Examples of impound

  • And when next ye seek to impound me, come in force, sir–come in force!

  • Steal it or impound it or take it away legally, you've got to know how it runs.

    The Fourth R

    George Oliver Smith

  • Does not the Maharajah-sahib impound all horses left ownerless?

    Rung Ho!

    Talbot Mundy

  • No. 5; by either of which I was fully authorized to seize and impound all trespassers—a limit and license that included dragons.

    The Bushman

    Edward Wilson Landor

  • After Colonel W. left for town, he went to his wife and asked her what the Colonel meant by telling him to impound the ox.

    Lincoln's Yarns and Stories

    Alexander K. McClure

British Dictionary definitions for impound


verb (tr)

to confine (stray animals, illegally parked cars, etc) in a pound
  1. to seize (chattels, etc) by legal right
  2. to take possession of (a document, evidence, etc) and hold in legal custody
to collect (water) in a reservoir or dam, as for irrigation
to seize or appropriate
Derived Formsimpoundable, adjectiveimpoundage or impoundment, nounimpounder, noun
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 impound

early 15c., "to shut up in a pen or pound," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + pound (n.). Originally of cattle seized by law. Related: Impounded; impounding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper