Imposition means you force something — usually an unwanted burden — on someone else. If your friends invite themselves over for dinner the night before your big test, that's an imposition because you'll have to cook instead of studying.

Imposition comes from the 14th century Old French word of the same spelling, meaning "the levying of taxes, a tax, duty." Taxes are a good way to remember the meaning of imposition. You never want to pay taxes — but you have no choice but to pay. It can be the same for other kinds of burdens: if something is an imposition, you don't want to do it, but you likely will have to.

Definitions of imposition

n the act of imposing something (as a tax or an embargo)

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protection, trade protection
the imposition of duties or quotas on imports in order to protect domestic industry against foreign competition
the imposition of order or discipline
imposition again
the imposition of taxes; the practice of the government in levying taxes on the subjects of a state
Type of:
the act of enforcing; ensuring observance of or obedience to

n an uncalled-for burden

“he listened but resented the imposition
Type of:
burden, encumbrance, incumbrance, load, onus
an onerous or difficult concern

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