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
2 : to force into the company or on the attention of another impose oneself on others
3a : place, set
b : to arrange (type, pages, etc.) in the proper order for printing
4 : pass off impose fake antiques on the public

intransitive verb

: to take unwarranted advantage of something imposed on his good nature

Other Words from impose

imposer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for impose



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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 The measure would raise the legal purchasing age for semiautomatic weapons from 18 to 21, prohibit the sale of large-capacity magazines, and impose new rules governing proper at-home gun storage, CNN reports. Melissa Noel, Essence, 9 June 2022 Ohio Substitute House Bill 172 provides an option for home rule cities such as Brook Park to impose a complete ban on the use of consumer grade fireworks. Beth Mlady, cleveland, 9 June 2022 There are several efforts at both the state and federal level in the U.S. to impose regulations on the crypto market and help limit volatility and risk. Colin Lodewick, Fortune, 8 June 2022 Maryland Department of Health officials strongly urge Marylanders to get COVID-19 vaccinations and said any local school system can impose more stringent requirements. Sam Janesch, Baltimore Sun, 8 June 2022 Today's graduates disagree with the requirement of a college degree that employers still impose for many jobs. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 7 June 2022 Federal prosecutors disagreed, saying in a filing that the court should impose a sentence of 97 to 121 months (8 to 10 years) in prison and a $750,000 fine. Jackie Smith, Detroit Free Press, 7 June 2022 Biden has had a complicated relationship with López Obrador, who drew close to Trump despite his 2019 threat to impose stiff tariffs unless migration was contained. Missy Ryan,, 5 June 2022 As early as 1967, mathematicians such as Andrey Kolmogorov were studying networks that impose a cost on connecting two nodes. Quanta Magazine, 2 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near impose



imposed load

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Statistics for impose

Last Updated

16 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Impose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for impose


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on impose

Nglish: Translation of impose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impose for Arabic Speakers


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