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 admittedly imposing, the number doesn’t tell the whole story. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Now Has More Warships Than the U.S.," 20 May 2019 But people in the industry said the worst effects could be longer-term, as China aims its regulatory machinery at U.S. firms and imposes retaliatory measures, such as new antitrust investigations. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "U.S. Trade Salvo at Huawei Threatens Its 5G Ambitions," 17 May 2019 Wednesday’s move also comes at a time of heightened concern in Ottawa that Beijing is set to impose other restrictions on Canadian agrifood goods. Paul Vieira, WSJ, "Canada Moves to Mitigate Fallout From China Canola Ban," 1 May 2019 In 1975, the NRA creates a new lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, under Harlon B. Carter, an imposing former chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "A Timeline of the Second Amendment and Gun Control in the U.S.," 1 May 2019 Al-Shabab, which is al-Qaida’s East Africa affiliate, has fought for years to impose a strict version of Islam in the Horn of Africa nation. Abdi Guled, The Seattle Times, "Al-Shabab says it executed 4 accused spies in Somalia," 31 Mar. 2019 The nudity—about which an actress of another nationality might barely think twice—was in her case a means of striking back at the people who had tried to impose restrictions on her. Mikael Jansson, Vogue, "14 Countries, 14 Superstars: The Global Actors Who Know No Limits," 14 Mar. 2019 By classifying lynching and attempted lynching as a federal hate crime, the bill enables judges to impose additional sentencing enhancements on top of any other charges when determining the punishment for those convicted of such crimes. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "By passing the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act this week, the Senate acknowledged its role in decades of racial terrorism.," 21 Dec. 2018 On Wednesday, Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced a Senate bill to impose a carbon tax on major industrial carbon emitters throughout the US. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Bipartisan carbon-tax bill introduced in the Senate offers glimpse at future," 20 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

23 May 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

one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!