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impose on (someone or something)
1. To be overly demanding of someone. Often used of guests. I hope we're not imposing on you—I really thought Walter had confirmed with you that we could stay for two weeks.
2. To subject someone to something (which is usually stated between "impose" and "on"), especially when it is unwelcome or unsolicited. My parents keep trying to impose their religious views on me, but I just connect to a different religion more.
3. To force someone to accept a law or similar legislature (which is usually stated between "impose" and "on"). If the government tries to impose that ridiculous law on us, they better be ready for a fight. Do you think the mayor will really be able to impose a tax on soda?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
impose (up)on someone
to be a bother to someone; to make a request of something to someone. (Often refers to being an overnight guest or having a meal at someone's house. Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) I don't mean to impose upon you, but could you put me up for the night? Don't worry, I won't let you impose on me.
impose something (up)on someone
to force something on someone. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Don't try to impose your ideas upon me! The colonists tried to impose their values on the indigenous peoples.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Force something on someone; also, levy a tax or duty. For example, Don't try to impose your ideas on me, or The British crown imposed a tariff on tea. [Late 1500s]
2. Force oneself on others; take unfair advantage of. For example, Am I imposing on you if I stay overnight? or He's always imposing on us, dropping in unexpectedly with numerous friends. [Early 1600s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
impose onor impose upon
1. To make something prevail over someone or something by authority: The government imposes a tax on cigarettes. The tribunal imposed a sentence upon the defendant.
2. To force something, such as a set of rules or opinions, on someone: Don't impose your views on me.
3. To be an inconvenience to someone by requesting unreasonable favors: Our guests imposed on us by staying for three weeks.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.