[ im-pohz ]
See 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.

  1. to obtrude or thrust (oneself, one's company, etc.) upon others.

  2. to pass or palm off fraudulently or deceptively: He imposed his pretentious books on the public.

  3. Printing. to lay (type pages, plates, etc.) in proper order on an imposing stone or the like and secure in a chase for printing.

  4. to lay on or inflict, as a penalty.

  5. Archaic. to put or place on something, or in a particular place.

  6. 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?

  1. to presume, as upon patience or good nature.

Verb Phrases
  1. impose on / upon

    • to thrust oneself offensively upon others; intrude.

    • to take unfair advantage of; misuse (influence, friendship, etc.).

    • to defraud; cheat; deceive: A study recently showed the shocking number of confidence men that impose on the public.

Origin of impose

First recorded in 1475–85; late Middle English, from Middle French imposer, equivalent to im- im-1 + poser “to stop, cease”; see pose1; see also pose2

Other words for impose

Other words from impose

  • im·pos·a·ble, adjective
  • im·pos·er, noun
  • o·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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use impose in a sentence

  • Its acceptance by the garageman imposes on him the duty of exercising due care for its safety and protection.

  • An agreement to keep it in good repair imposes an obligation on the landlord's part to rebuild.

  • This is proved to us by the weight which the air imposes upon the mercury at the open end of a barometric tube.

    Outlines of the Earth's History | Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
  • In the seas the fluid has an exceeding freedom of motion; it can obey the varied impulses which the solar energy imposes upon it.

    Outlines of the Earth's History | Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
  • It is pretended that even if it should be a fiction, it is advantageous, because it imposes upon men and leads them to virtue.

British Dictionary definitions for impose


/ (ɪmˈpəʊz) /

verb(usually foll by on or upon)
  1. (tr) to establish as something to be obeyed or complied with; enforce: to impose a tax on the people

  2. to force (oneself, one's presence, etc) on another or others; obtrude

  1. (intr) to take advantage, as of a person or quality: to impose on someone's kindness

  2. (tr) printing to arrange pages so that after printing and folding the pages will be in the correct order

  3. (tr) to pass off deceptively; foist: to impose a hoax on someone

  4. (tr) (of a bishop or priest) to lay (the hands) on the head of a candidate for certain sacraments

Origin of impose

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

Derived forms of impose

  • imposable, adjective
  • imposer, 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