im·​po·​si·​tion | \ˌim-pə-ˈzi-shən \

Definition of imposition 

1 : something imposed: such as

a : levy, tax

b : an excessive or uncalled-for requirement or burden

2 : the act of imposing

3 : deception

4 : the order of arrangement of imposed pages

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Synonyms for imposition


assessment, duty, impost, levy, tax

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Examples of imposition in a Sentence

Your kids can stay with me the night you're away—it's really not an imposition. the imposition of a life sentence on the defendant the imposition of a tax on liquor
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Recent Examples on the Web

The European Central Bank’s biggest innovation of the past decade has been the imposition of a negative interest rate starting in 2014—a tax on reserves held at the central bank. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Post-Lehman Sins of Transmission and Omission," 13 Sep. 2018 The imposition of strict liability on owners in this manner is not authorized under the Horse Racing Law, may result in arbitrary and capricious disciplinary proceedings, and could chill horse ownership. John Cherwa,, "Racing! Goodbye to the winter/spring Santa Anita meeting," 25 June 2018 In the late 1980s the south of the country saw an uprising involving a Nepalese minority that resented the government's arch-traditional cultural policies and the imposition of a Bhutanese dress code. Lawrence Osborne, Town & Country, "Why Everyone Is Traveling to Bhutan," 30 Mar. 2015 What harsh rules and rigid impositions are starting to leave your heart parched? Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes Aug 6-12," 6 Aug. 2012 The steel and aluminum tariffs were imposed under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which allows the imposition of tariffs when the Commerce Department determines that imports are a national security threat. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "Lawmaker Faults Tariff Waivers’ Fairness," 31 Oct. 2018 Pyongyang has often had its own complaints about Washington over slow delivery of aid and imposition of sanctions. Washington Post, "Experts see risks in US plan to dismantle NKorea’s nukes," 3 July 2018 Pyongyang has often had its own complaints about Washington over slow delivery of aid and imposition of sanctions. Deb Riechmann, The Seattle Times, "Experts see risks in US plan to dismantle NKorea’s nukes," 2 July 2018 These European Union tariffs against specific U.S. products was meant as retaliation for Trump’s imposition of tariffs against steel and aluminum imports from the European Union. Damian Paletta,, "President Trump threatens Harley-Davidson with taxes ‘like never before’," 26 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of imposition

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for imposition

The first known use of imposition was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of imposition

: a demand or request that is not reasonable or that causes trouble for someone

: the act of establishing or creating something in an official way : the act of imposing something

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Comments on imposition

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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