im·​pos·​tor | \ im-ˈpä-stər How to pronounce impostor (audio) \
variants: or imposter

Definition of impostor

: one that assumes false identity or title for the purpose of deception

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Examples of impostor in a Sentence

He claimed he was an experienced pilot, but he turned out to be an impostor. the man who claimed to be a prince turned out to be an impostor
Recent Examples on the Web The researchers characterize this kind of response as consumer impostor syndrome. Sarah Todd, Quartz, "Luxury is embarrassing," 27 Dec. 2019 Once your carrier has set up a code, any would-be impostor will need to provide this number to gain access to your phone number. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "5 ways to defend your phone against SIM swap attacks," 28 Nov. 2019 And there are vinegars that pretend to be balsamic, but in fact are just little impostors. Katie Workman, NBC News, "Balsamic glazed shredded Brussels sprouts with bacon," 17 Dec. 2019 Setting a trap Empress Catherine was alarmed when news of this impostor reached her. National Geographic, "This 'pretender princess' tried to steal Catherine the Great's throne," 6 Aug. 2019 Her grieving grandmother, the Dowager Empress of Russia (Joy Franz), who relocated to Paris before the Bolshevik uprising, has offered a reward for the return of the lost princess, and impostors are thick on the ground. Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Anastasia’ at the Pantages has a look that dazzles. The story, not so much," 11 Oct. 2019 Security questions are designed to separate you from impostors trying to reset your password for nefarious purposes. Eric Zorn,, "Column: Online security questions have become a whale of a weird idea," 16 July 2019 An impostor, fraudulently posing as a Denver sheriff’s deputy, is dialing up telephone scams demanding money to a direct deposit app account. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Denver sheriff warns of warrant telephone scam demanding direct payment to an app," 12 Nov. 2019 Beware of calls from Social Security Consumers are seeing a sizable uptick in callers from impostors claiming to be Social Security Administration agents. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Medicare open enrollment brings out the scam artists: Here’s what to watch out for," 11 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impostor.' 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 impostor

1564, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for impostor

Late Latin impostor, from Latin imponere

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Time Traveler for impostor

Time Traveler

The first known use of impostor was in 1564

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Statistics for impostor

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impostor.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for impostor


How to pronounce impostor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of impostor

: a person who deceives others by pretending to be someone else


variants: or imposter \ im-​ˈpä-​stər \

Kids Definition of impostor

: a person who deceives others by pretending to be someone else


variants: or imposter \ im-​ˈpäs-​tər How to pronounce imposter (audio) \

Legal Definition of impostor

: one that assumes a false identity or title for the purpose of deception : impersonator

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Comments on impostor

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


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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