1545–55; < Medieval Latin impālāre, equivalent to Latin im- im-1 + pāl(us) pale2 + -ā- thematic vowel + -re infinitive ending (Source:

Definitions of Impalement


verb (used with object)

  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. to marshal (two coats of arms, as the family arms of a husband and wife) on an escutcheon party per pale. (of a coat of arms) to be combined with (another coat of arms) in this way.



  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



  1. : to pierce with or as if with something pointed
  2. : to fix in an inescapable or helpless position
  3. : to join (coats of arms) on a heraldic shield divided vertically by a pale

Example sentences for Impalement

  1. The penalty of death appears to have been inflicted either by burning, impalement, dismemberment, or drowning.
  2. Then the king in a rage, supposing he had concealed his son, had him put to death by impalement as a thief.
  3. Hoping this amount of impalement will be satisfactory, I go on to something else.
  4. This impalement is given with great force, and a wounded heron has been known to drive its bill right through a stout stick.
  5. I could not move without it, so I had to wait till the two women took pity on me and released me from my impalement.

Related words & Synonyms

persecution, suffering, torment, misery, laceration, distress, martyrdom, agony, dolor, twinge, pang, affliction, ache, crucifixion, anguish, rack, tribulation, excruciation, hit, hanging

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