• synonyms


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.
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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.
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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.
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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·ing.re·im·pose, verb, re·im·posed, re·im·pos·ing.sub·im·posed, adjectiveun·im·posed, adjectivewell-im·posed, adjective


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for imposer

Historical Examples

  • An oath obligeth not in the sense of the imposer, but the taker's.

    Books Condemned to be Burnt

    James Anson Farrer

  • The first imposer of names was a philosopher who followed the theory of Herakleitus — perpetual flux of everything.

  • For the sinfulness of the imposer's act proveth no more, but that such a command did not oblige you to vow.

  • All men confess that private vows bind; and the nullity of the imposer's authority, maketh them but private vows.

    A Christian Directory

    Baxter Richard

  • It is ordinarily resolved that imposed oaths must be kept according to the sense of the imposer.

    A Christian Directory

    Baxter Richard

British Dictionary definitions for imposer


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
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Derived Formsimposable, adjectiveimposer, noun

Word Origin

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 imposer



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper