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The word impose and its family (imposed, imposes, imposing, imposition) are included in the Academic Word List by Dr. Averil Coxhead, which contains the 570 most frequent word families used in academic texts from a variety of subject areas, of interest for students that learn the words most needed to study at tertiary institutions.

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Definition of the verb impose

What does impose mean as a doing word?

Impose is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.

verb - inflections: imposed | imposing | imposes

  1. compel to behave in a certain way
    • example: Social relations impose courtesy
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - animate organization] [Verb] [Theme]I cannot impose my opinion
      [Agent - animate organization] [Verb] [Theme, that-complement clause]I cannot impose that I get what I want

      Enforce Verbs (with the same syntax): control, enforce.

    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • synonyms of impose: constrain / enforce
    • more generic words: compel / obligate / oblige = force somebody to do something
  2. impose something unpleasant
  3. impose and collect
    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonym of impose: levy
    • more generic words: bill / charge = demand payment
    • more specific words:
      • toll = charge a fee for using
      • tithe = levy a tithe on
      • reimpose = impose anew
      • lay = impose as a duty, burden, or punishment
      • mulct = impose a fine on
      • tax = levy a tax on
      • distrain = levy a distress on

Alternative definition of the verb impose


  1. [transitive] to establish or apply by authority
  2. [intransitive] to be an inconvenience
  3. to enforce: compel to behave in a certain way

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for impose

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewThird World Politics (1985)

An Introduction by Christopher S. Clapham

The one thing which it does on the whole impose is a framework of order, the breakdown of which is the exception, not the rule.

Google previewAtomic Physics: 8th Edition (2013)

by Max Born

The natural condition to impose is that the wave function should vanish at infinity “more strongly ” than 1/r. This follows from the statistical interpretation of the square of the amplitude of the wave function, as the probability of the electron being ...

Google previewSelected Works of E. L. Lehmann (2012)

by Javier Rojo

An additional condition one might like to impose is that of robustness; that is, small changes in F should result in small changes of 6. An early discussion of the need for such a condition was given by Bahadur and Savage (1956). For a rigorous ...

Google previewThe Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity (2012)

by J. B. Stump, Alan G. Padgett

conceptions of human persons impose is that human persons can act intentionally and reflect on what they do; in short, Christianity takes human beings to be reflective and responsible ...

Google previewThe Entrepreneur (1982)

An Economic Theory by Mark Casson

The only restriction the owners impose is that no one else can exercise ownership either. 6.4 EXCLUSION AND THE SALE OF ACCESS The previous section has demonstrated the importance of exclusion in avoiding congestion in the use of ...

Google previewCircuits, Signals, and Speech and Image Processing (2006)

by Richard C. Dorf

A common constraint to impose is that the velocity field is smooth.

Google previewThe American Dictionary of Criminal Justice (2005)

Key Terms and Major Court Cases by Dean J. Champion

The juvenile court has the authority to impose a sanction involving either the juvenile or adult correctional systems. Juvenile-lnclusive Blend: The juvenile court has original jurisdiction and responsibility for adjudication of the case. The juvenile ...

Google previewVocabulary Dictionary and Workbook (2006)

2,856 Words You Must Know by Mark Phillips

impose (im-PŌZ) vb. To impose something (that must be obeyed, endured, paid, etc.) ...

Google previewThe Encyclopaedia of Pleading and Practice (1902)

Under the Codes and Practice Acts, at Common Law, in Equity and in Criminal Cases

TltB acceptance of a trustee's resignation being discretionary, the court may impose such equitable terms and conditions as it may deem proper.l Accounting. — An order or decree accepting the resignation of a trust will, of course, always ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for impose

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Usage statistics about impose

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb impose:


Photos about impose

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A beautiful building in New Orleans

Photo credit: Gurney5

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of hand impose into pan rice groats from jarSmall photo of Fracture of the paw of the dog, impose a plasterSmall photo of Dog broken leg, impose a bandageSmall photo of hand impose into pan rice groats from jarSmall photo of hand impose into pan rice groats from jarSmall photo of BARCELONA, SPAIN – OCTOBER 21, 2017: 500,000 Catalans protesting against Madrid's move to impose the direct rule over Catalonia More...

Video language resources about impose

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See also the pronunciation examples of impose!

Quotes about impose

I think there was an absolute, deep gap between consensual relations between adults, which people may like or dislike, and people who physically impose themselves on children or misuse their authority to impose on children. (Barney Frank)
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Scrabble value of I1M3P3O1S1E1

The value of this 6-letter word is 10 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of IMPOSE

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See also the blanagrams of impose!

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