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late 14c., "the levying of taxes, a tax, duty, tribute," from Old French imposicion "tax, duty; a fixing" (early 14c.), from Latin impositionem (nominative impositio) "a laying on," from imponere "to place upon," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + ponere "to put, place" (see position). Sense of "the act of putting (something) on (something else)" is from 1590s. Meaning "an act or instance of imposing" (on someone) first recorded 1630s (see impose).