or im·post·er



a person who practices deception under an assumed character, identity, or name.

Origin of impostor

1580–90; < Late Latin, equivalent to Latin impos(i)-, variant stem of impōnere to deceive, place on (see impone) + -tor -tor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impostor

Contemporary Examples of impostor

Historical Examples of impostor

  • The old farmer had believed the solemn words of the impostor.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • In dropping me without a word, as if I had been an impostor?

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • An impostor, a personator, a cheat, and I gave him place and rank.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • At that moment he was less like himself than was the impostor who came there to personate him.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • I have been left in this room insensible, and the impostor who resembles me—where is he now?

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for impostor




a person who deceives others, esp by assuming a false identity; charlatan

Word Origin for impostor

C16: from Late Latin: deceiver; see impose
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 impostor

1580s, from Middle French imposteur (16c.), from Late Latin impostor, agent noun from impostus, collateral form of impositus, past participle of imponere "place upon, impose upon, deceive," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + ponere "to put place" (see position).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper