Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal.


v. im·posed, im·pos·ing, im·pos·es
1. To establish or apply as compulsory; levy: impose a tax.
2. To bring about by authority or force; force to prevail: impose a peace settlement.
3. To obtrude or force (oneself, for example) on another or others.
4. Printing To arrange (type or plates) on an imposing stone.
5. To offer or circulate fraudulently; pass off: imposed a fraud on consumers.
To force oneself on or take unfair advantage of others: You are always imposing on their generosity.

[Middle English imposen, from Old French imposer, alteration (influenced by poser, to put, place) of Latin impōnere, to place upon : in-, on; see in-2 + pōnere, to place; see apo- in Indo-European roots.]

im·pos′er n.


  • boycott, embargo - A boycott is an organized popular protest, named for Captain Charles C. Boycott (1832-97), a land agent in Ireland to whom this was done in 1880; an embargo is usually imposed by a government.
  • silentium - A place where silence is imposed (library, religious retreat).
  • Pax Romana - An uneasy peace, as one imposed by a powerful state on a weaker or vanquished state.
  • mumbletypeg - The children's game was first mumble-the-peg, descriptive of one of the penalties imposed on the loser.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.imposed - set forth authoritatively as obligatory; "the imposed taxation"; "rules imposed by society"
obligatory - morally or legally constraining or binding; "attendance is obligatory"; "an obligatory contribution"
References in classic literature ?
Ah," replied Roger Chillingworth, with that quietness, which, whether imposed or natural, marked all his deportment, "it is thus that a young clergyman is apt to speak.
he repeated as if retreating for a jump, yet leaving his thought so unfinished that, after we had come into the gate, another stop, which he imposed on me by the pressure of his arm, had become inevitable.
Upon opening my eyes then, and coming out of my own pleasant and self-created darkness into the imposed and coarse outer gloom of the unilluminated twelve-o'clock-at-night, I experienced a disagreeable revulsion.
Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage.
she sat still, she walked about, she tried her own room, she tried the shrubberyin every place, every posture, she perceived that she had acted most weakly; that she had been imposed on by others in a most mortifying degree; that she had been imposing on herself in a degree yet more mortifying; that she was wretched, and should probably find this day but the beginning of wretchedness.
My father, indeed, imposed the determination, but since his death, I have not a legitimate obstacle to contend with; some affairs settled, a successor for Morton provided, an entanglement or two of the feelings broken through or cut asunder--a last conflict with human weakness, in which I know I shall overcome, because I have vowed that I WILL overcome--and I leave Europe for the East.
Catherine had kept up her acquaintance with the Lintons since her five-weeks' residence among them; and as she had no temptation to show her rough side in their company, and had the sense to be ashamed of being rude where she experienced such invariable courtesy, she imposed unwittingly on the old lady and gentleman by her ingenious cordiality; gained the admiration of Isabella, and the heart and soul of her brother: acquisitions that flattered her from the first - for she was full of ambition - and led her to adopt a double character without exactly intending to deceive any one.
Her deplorable death releases me from the restraint which I had imposed on myself, and permits -- or, more properly, obliges me to speak.
Naturally struck by the disagreeable word, Charles Darnay requested the speaker to take notice that he was a free traveller and French citizen, in charge of an escort which the disturbed state of the country had imposed upon him, and which he had paid for.
You're much too pretty and thoughtless' - my mother blushed but laughed, and seemed not to dislike this character - 'to have any duties imposed upon you that can be undertaken by me.
He pretended that his Christian name was Dolge - a clear impossibility - but he was a fellow of that obstinate disposition that I believe him to have been the prey of no delusion in this particular, but wilfully to have imposed that name upon the village as an affront to its understanding.
I have sent, for your private consideration, a list of the contents of this curious piece, which I shall perhaps subjoin, with your approbation, to the third volume of my Tale, in case the printer's devil should continue impatient for copy, when the whole of my narrative has been imposed.