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
2 : to force into the company or on the attention of another impose oneself on others
3a : place, set
b : to arrange (type, pages, etc.) in the proper order for printing
4 : pass off impose fake antiques on the public

intransitive verb

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

Other Words from impose

imposer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for impose



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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 Like that movie, this one finds occasions for moments of haunting visual beauty, indulging a nearly universal need to impose aesthetic sense on senseless horrors. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Sep. 2022 Congressional action comes with its own political headaches, especially if legislators vote to impose contract terms on the companies or the unions that neither side wants. Andrew Restuccia, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 But Yuen still struggled to comprehend what kind of person — and where? — would impose such suffering on someone else. Cezary Podkul, ProPublica, 13 Sep. 2022 But the engineers’ and conductors’ unions are pushing their allies in Congress not to take any action to impose a labor deal on workers who have yet to reach a deal, or to extend the cooling off period. Chris Isidore, CNN, 12 Sep. 2022 The Fox News host reiterated his point about a class of powerful activists in government and powerful institutions who can impose their ideological agendas on the American public. Alexander Hall, Fox News, 12 Sep. 2022 Soto worried that while Echelson said the district may impose mask mandates on individual schools or classes in case of surges, there was no metric in place to determine when those would kick in. Christopher Huffaker,, 7 Sep. 2022 The second half began with Utah trying to impose its will on a bigger, physical Florida defensive line at the goal line. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Sep. 2022 Caregivers remain free to impose their highest prices on 30 million uninsured Americans because Congress failed to cap the sums they could be charged for medical care at, for example, Medicare or Medicaid prices. Marc Rodwin, STAT, 1 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near impose



imposed load

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Statistics for impose

Last Updated

20 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Impose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for impose


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on impose

Nglish: Translation of impose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impose for Arabic Speakers


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