im·​pos·​ing im-ˈpō-ziŋ How to pronounce imposing (audio)
: impressive in size, bearing, dignity, or grandeur
imposingly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for imposing

grand, magnificent, imposing, stately, majestic, grandiose mean large and impressive.

grand adds to greatness of size the implications of handsomeness and dignity.

a grand staircase

magnificent implies an impressive largeness proportionate to scale without sacrifice of dignity or good taste.

magnificent paintings

imposing implies great size and dignity but especially stresses impressiveness.

an imposing edifice

stately may suggest poised dignity, erectness of bearing, handsomeness of proportions, ceremonious deliberation of movement.

the stately procession

majestic combines the implications of imposing and stately and usually adds a suggestion of solemn grandeur.

a majestic waterfall

grandiose implies a size or scope exceeding ordinary experience

grandiose hydroelectric projects

but is most commonly applied derogatorily to inflated pretension or absurd exaggeration.

grandiose schemes

Examples of imposing in a Sentence

He's an imposing man with a powerful voice. the president of the bank is exactly the sort of imposing figure that one might expect
Recent Examples on the Web Utah has one of the most imposing front sevens in the country, and Baylor continued to play smashmouth football and dominate at the line of scrimmage. Michael Haag, Dallas News, 9 Sep. 2023 Perhaps the most imposing structure in the old town is the largest brick church in the world, the Basilica of St. Mary. Danuta Hamlin, Fox News, 1 Sep. 2023 The architecture may be too imposing and the admission price too high. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 6 June 2023 Even though the former Trojan isn’t the most imposing presence out on the gridiron (6-0, 175 pounds), his route-running, hands, and stop-and-go acceleration have many draft experts tabbing him as a versatile weapon. Conor Ryan,, 4 Mar. 2023 But decoding entire words and phrases is a more imposing challenge. Allison Parshall, Scientific American, 1 May 2023 The shoulder pads also add structure and balance to the silhouette without being too imposing, and thick fabric is flattering. Rena Behar, Travel + Leisure, 24 Mar. 2023 At a towering 6-foot-4, with a black belt in karate, Harvey Schwartz cuts an imposing figure. Byluisa Beltran, Fortune, 10 Feb. 2023 Brooklyn has a plethora of championship mettle and may be the most imposing team in the East from a pure talent standpoint. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 1 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'imposing.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1786, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of imposing was in 1786

Dictionary Entries Near imposing

Cite this Entry

“Imposing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: impressive in size, dignity, or magnificence
imposingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on imposing

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