impose

verb
im·​pose | \ im-ˈpōz How to pronounce impose (audio) \
imposed; imposing

Definition of impose

transitive verb

1a : to establish or apply by authority impose a tax impose new restrictions impose penalties
b : to establish or bring about as if by force those limits imposed by our own inadequacies— C. H. Plimpton
2a : place, set
b : to arrange (type, pages, etc.) in the proper order for printing
3 : pass off impose fake antiques on the public
4 : to force into the company or on the attention of another impose oneself on others

intransitive verb

: to take unwarranted advantage of something imposed on his good nature

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from impose

imposer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for impose

Synonyms

assess, charge, exact, fine, lay, levy, put

Antonyms

remit

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

The Latin imposui meant "put upon", and that meaning carried over into English in impose. A CEO may impose a new manager on one of the company's plants. A state may impose new taxes on luxury items or cigarettes, and the federal government sometimes imposes trade restrictions on another country to punish it. A polite apology might begin with "I hope I'm not imposing on you" (that is, "forcing my presence on you"). And a self-imposed deadline is one that you decide to hold yourself to.

Examples of impose in a Sentence

The judge imposed a life sentence. I needed to break free from the limits imposed by my own fear of failure.

Recent Examples on the Web

Although suppliers are getting more orders in on time since Walmart began imposing penalties for delays, incomplete deliveries are driving as many as 30% of out-of-stock readings in stores, according to people familiar with the data. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "Walmart Toughens Delivery Demands for Suppliers," 6 Mar. 2019 The tighter screening of refugees reflects one of the signature issues for President Donald Trump, who imposed a travel ban on people from seven majority Muslim countries as one of his first actions upon taking office in January 2017. Fox News, "Trump refugee policy leaves thousands stranded outside US," 7 Oct. 2018 The imposing setting at Windsor Castle and the fact that his hostess is one of the most admired women in the world are expected to temper Trump’s iconoclastic ways. BostonGlobe.com, "Royal etiquette for the Trumps’ visit: Don’t kiss the queen," 13 July 2018 The trial judge imposed death sentences for the Bowman and Levy murders. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Ted Bundy: Looking Back at the Killing Spree That Landed Him on Death Row," 25 Jan. 2019 And as Trump has talked about bringing Putin back into the international fold, the Treasury Department has continued to impose sanctions on various Russian officials, companies and businessmen. Matthew Lee, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump wish for warm Putin ties highlights policy disconnect," 14 July 2018 The two carriers also impose fuel surcharges, which fluctuate with market prices. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, "Amazon’s Pitch to Woo Shippers: Fewer Fees Than FedEx, UPS," 23 Jan. 2019 President Donald Trump imposed tariff increases of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "US-China trade talks start amid cooling economic growth," 7 Jan. 2019 Finally, the city is imposing a 15mph speed limit on the scooters themselves. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Oakland official: “We want to get Americans out of their cars and solve racism”," 12 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of impose

1581, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for impose

Middle French imposer, from Latin imponere, literally, to put upon (perfect indicative imposui), from in- + ponere to put — more at position

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impose

Statistics for impose

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impose

The first known use of impose was in 1581

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for impose

impose

verb

English Language Learners Definition of impose

: to cause (something, such as a tax, fine, rule, or punishment) to affect someone or something by using your authority
: to establish or create (something unwanted) in a forceful or harmful way
: to force someone to accept (something or yourself)

impose

verb
im·​pose | \ im-ˈpōz How to pronounce impose (audio) \
imposed; imposing

Kids Definition of impose

1 : to establish or apply as a charge or penalty The judge imposed a fine.
2 : to force someone to accept or put up with Don't impose your beliefs on me.
3 : to ask for more than is fair or reasonable : take unfair advantage Guests imposed on his good nature.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on impose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impose

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impose

Spanish Central: Translation of impose

Nglish: Translation of impose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impose for Arabic Speakers

Comments on impose

What made you want to look up impose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!