See more synonyms for impose on
verb (used with object), im·posed, im·pos·ing.
  1. to lay on or set as something to be borne, endured, obeyed, fulfilled, paid, etc.: to impose taxes.
  2. to put or set by or as if by authority: to impose one's personal preference on others.
  3. to obtrude or thrust (oneself, one's company, etc.) upon others.
  4. to pass or palm off fraudulently or deceptively: He imposed his pretentious books on the public.
  5. Printing. to lay (type pages, plates, etc.) in proper order on an imposing stone or the like and secure in a chase for printing.
  6. to lay on or inflict, as a penalty.
  7. Archaic. to put or place on something, or in a particular place.
  8. Obsolete. to lay on (the hands) ceremonially, as in confirmation or ordination.
verb (used without object), im·posed, im·pos·ing.
  1. to make an impression on the mind; impose one's or its authority or influence.
  2. to obtrude oneself or one's requirements, as upon others: Are you sure my request doesn't impose?
  3. to presume, as upon patience or good nature.
Verb Phrases
  1. impose on/upon,
    1. to thrust oneself offensively upon others; intrude.
    2. to take unfair advantage of; misuse (influence, friendship, etc.).
    3. to defraud; cheat; deceive: A study recently showed the shocking number of confidence men that impose on the public.

Origin of impose

1475–85; late Middle English < Middle French imposer, equivalent to im- im-1 + poser to pose1; see also pose2
Related formsim·pos·a·ble, adjectiveim·pos·er, nouno·ver·im·pose, verb (used with object), o·ver·im·posed, o·ver·im·pos·ing.pre·im·pose, verb (used with object), pre·im·posed, pre·im·pos··im·pose, verb, re·im·posed, re·im·pos·ing.sub·im·posed, adjectiveun·im·posed, adjectivewell-im·posed, adjective

Synonyms for impose

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for impose on


verb (usually foll by on or upon)
  1. (tr) to establish as something to be obeyed or complied with; enforceto impose a tax on the people
  2. to force (oneself, one's presence, etc) on another or others; obtrude
  3. (intr) to take advantage, as of a person or qualityto impose on someone's kindness
  4. (tr) printing to arrange pages so that after printing and folding the pages will be in the correct order
  5. (tr) to pass off deceptively; foistto impose a hoax on someone
  6. (tr) (of a bishop or priest) to lay (the hands) on the head of a candidate for certain sacraments
Derived Formsimposable, adjectiveimposer, noun

Word Origin for impose

C15: from Old French imposer, from Latin impōnere to place upon, from pōnere to place, set
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 impose on



late 14c., "to lay (a crime, etc.) to the account of," from Old French imposer "put, place; impute, charge, accuse" (c.1300), from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + poser "put, place" (see pose (v.1)). Sense of "to lay on as a burden" first recorded 1580s. Related: Imposed; imposing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with impose on

impose on


Force something on someone; also, levy a tax or duty. For example, Don't try to impose your ideas on me, or The British crown imposed a tariff on tea. [Late 1500s]


Force oneself on others; take unfair advantage of. For example, Am I imposing on you if I stay overnight? or He's always imposing on us, dropping in unexpectedly with numerous friends. [Early 1600s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.