Etymology
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impale (v.)

1520s, "to enclose with stakes, fence in" (a sense continued in specialized uses into 19c.), from French empaler or directly from Medieval Latin impalare "to push onto a stake," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (from PIE root *en "in") + Latin palus "a stake, prop, stay; wooden post, pole" (from PIE *pak-slo-, from root *pag- "to fasten"). Sense of "pierce with a pointed stake" (as torture or capital punishment) first recorded 1610s. Related: Impaled; impaling.

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impalement (n.)
1590s, "act of enclosing with stakes," from impale (v.) + -ment, perhaps on model of French empalement; formerly in English it often was spelled empalement. In reference to the method of torture/punishment from 1620s.
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*pag- 
also *pak-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to fasten."

It forms all or part of: Areopagus; appease; appeasement; compact (adj.) "concentrated;" compact (n.1) "agreement;" fang; impact; impale; impinge; newfangled; pace (prep.) "with the leave of;" pacific; pacify; pact; pagan; page (n.1) "sheet of paper;" pageant; pale (n.) "limit, boundary, restriction;" palette; palisade; patio; pawl; pax; pay; peace; peasant; pectin; peel (n.2) "shovel-shaped instrument;" pole (n.1) "stake;" propagate; propagation; travail; travel.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pasa- "cord, rope," pajra- "solid, firm;" Avestan pas- "to fetter;" Greek pegnynai "to fix, make firm, fast or solid," pagos "pinnacle, cliff, rocky hill;" Latin pangere "to fix, to fasten," pagina "column," pagus "district;" Slavonic paž "wooden partition;" Old English fegan "to join," fon "to catch seize."
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transfix (v.)

1580s, "pierce through, impale," from French transfixer (15c.), from Latin transfixus "impaled," past participle of transfigere "to impale, pierce through," from trans "across, beyond; through" (see trans-) + figere "to fix, fasten" (from PIE root *dheigw- "to stick, fix"). Figurative sense of "make motionless or helpless, as with amazement, terror, or grief" is first recorded 1640s. Related: Transfixed; transfixing.

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ganch (v.)
"to impale on hooks or pointed stakes as a means of capital punishment," 1610s, from French *ganchor, from Italian *ganciare, from gancio "hook," from Turkish kanca "hook, barb, grapnel." Related: Ganched; ganching. Also, as a noun, the name of the punishment or the thing used in it, 1620s.
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spit (v.2)
c. 1200, "put on a spit, thrust with a spit," from late Old English sputtian "to spit" (for cooking), from spit (n.2). Meaning "pierce with a weapon, transfix, impale" is from early 15c. Related: Spitted; spitting. Nares' Glossary has spit-frog "a small sword."
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stake (v.1)

early 13c., staken, "fasten to a stake, tether," from stake (n.1). Also "to impale" (c. 1400). From c. 1400 as "support (a vine, etc.) with stakes, provide with stakes or poles."

From early 14c. as "divide or lay off and mark (land) with stakes or posts," now usually with out (mid-15c.) or off . Hence, stake a claim "make and register a land claim" (1857, American English), often in a figurative sense (by 1876). Meaning "to maintain surveillance (of a place) to detect criminal activity" (usually stake out) is recorded by 1942, American English, probably from the earlier sense of "mark off territory." Related: Staked; staking.

Compare Middle Dutch, Middle Low German staken, also from the nouns, and Old French estachier, Spanish estacar, from their respective nouns, which were borrowed from Germanic. Old English had stacung "piercing of an effigy by a pin or stake" (in witchcraft); staccan "pierce with a stake, spit."

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