im·​pos·​tor | \ im-ˈpä-stər \
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 sheer volume of social media impostors poses a challenge to even the wealthiest celebrities. Jack Nicas, New York Times, "Oprah, Is That You? On Social Media, the Answer Is Often No.," 7 July 2018 The system can detect impostors with 99 percent accuracy, BioCatch says. Stacy Cowley, The Seattle Times, "Banks and retailers are tracking how you type, swipe and tap while browsing online," 13 Aug. 2018 From navigating fear, failure, and feeling like an impostor to changing careers to branding yourself, Amber offers advice with radical empathy and care, real talk and real experience. Amber Rae, SELF, "Ask Amber Rae: How Do I Stop Feeling Like a Failure?," 5 Nov. 2018 Joe Raedle / Getty Images Facial recognition technology caught an impostor trying to illegally enter the U.S. on a fake passport that may have passed at face value with humans. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: New facial recognition tech nabbed its first imposter trying to enter the U.S.," 24 Aug. 2018 But after years of warnings about impostors sending e-mails and dangerous web sites — primarily, dating sites — this case in suburban Detroit has a fresh spin on state-of-the-art social media, namely Facebook. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "They met on Facebook, she sent him $62K — and Troy cops can't help," 10 Mar. 2018 Three men claim to be Sherlock Holmes, and Watson must weed out impostors. Houston Chronicle, "On Stage: 'Final Fantasy' meets the symphony," 3 July 2018 There was no way an impostor could fool an arena full of people, Musleh warned him. Jeff Maysh, Smithsonian, "The Counterfeit Queen of Soul," 28 June 2018 Like other Capgras patients, Marty Berman believed his wife had been replaced by an impostor. Meeri Kim, Washington Post, "This strange syndrome causes people to think their loved ones have been replaced by identical impostors," 7 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for impostor

Last Updated

25 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impostor

The first known use of impostor was in 1564

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More Definitions for impostor



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 \

Legal Definition of impostor

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on impostor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impostor

Spanish Central: Translation of impostor

Nglish: Translation of impostor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impostor for Arabic Speakers

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).


a complex dispute or argument

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