Definition of imposture in English:



  • An instance of pretending to be someone else in order to deceive others.

    ‘I discovered the imposture as soon as her doppelgänger arrived’
    mass noun ‘in a day and a night of violence and imposture William Bentley also succeeds in capturing a smuggler’
    • ‘To be sure, force may no longer take the form of plunder and extortion, and fraud may no longer appear as deliberate imposture and chicanery.’
    • ‘A sketch of so many calamities does not seem but a massive record of impostures, and even from such a tender age the cruel lashings made me aware of my humble condition.’
    • ‘When threatened with ‘a very painful experiment’ to uncover any secret, she confessed her imposture on December 7 and was charged as a ‘notorious and vile cheat’.’
    • ‘Sometimes the road to illusion is created by hoaxers, people who engage in deliberate acts of trickery with the aim of proving how gullible other people can be when a skillful imposture is presented.’
    • ‘He harks back to Adam Smith, who wrote that competition among faiths would make religion ‘free from every mixture of absurdity, imposture, or fanaticism.’’
    • ‘He is generous and tolerant of the young and aspiring, but a merciless adversary when he detects a dominating, powerful academic figure in pomposity or imposture.’
    • ‘In my previous impostures in the English department, I had picked up some of the rudiments of Romanticism, but one idea that intrigued me was Edmund Burke's theory of the sublime.’
    • ‘What the monologue thus conceives is an experience under negation, never fully bound in the present, another mode of imposture.’
    • ‘His life-sized but nonetheless obviously fake trees are colored to emphasize the imposture - jarring industrial green or gleaming silver and bronze, for instance.’
    • ‘How can an otherwise sane individual become so enamored of a fantasy, an imposture, that even after it's exposed in the bright light of day he still clings to it - indeed, clings to it all the harder?’
    • ‘She should have been able to see through this outrageous imposture, but she needed this man to be her long-lost son.’
    • ‘Yet even after he had sold his story to Life magazine, and exposed his strategies, he was unable to resist further impostures.’
    • ‘In 1871, Walter W Skeat published a complete and critical edition of Chatterton's poems, carefully dividing the poet's acknowledged work from his medieval impostures.’
    • ‘Have the Australian media ANY interest in this imposture…?’
    • ‘Before I could tell her about the inadvertent imposture that had occurred, she walked off the show in a huge huff with both signatures in hand.’
    • ‘With his own unconscious collusion, she had used him treacherously in an imposture which denied his separate identity and threatened to undo entirely the life work of individuation separation implied in identity formation.’
    • ‘No serious Catholic should lightly support a political party that promotes this sort of cynical imposture.’
    • ‘Thus the blurring of reality and fiction comes full circle: the impostor now gets to play himself in a film depicting his imposture and its consequences.’
    • ‘His imposture was an attempt to gain some self-esteem.’
    • ‘We do not accuse the authors of the imposture of relativism.’
    misrepresentation, pretence, deceit, deception, duping, cheating, trickery, artifice, subterfuge
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: via French from late Latin impostura, from Latin imposit- ‘imposed upon’, from the verb imponere (see impose).