Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Something, such as a tax or duty, that is imposed.
  • n. Sports The weight a horse must carry in a handicap race.
  • n. The uppermost part of a column or pillar supporting an arch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The top part of a column or pillar that supports an arch.
  • n. A tax, tariff or duty that is imposed, especially on merchandise.
  • n. The top member of a pillar, pier, wall, etc., upon which the weight of an arch rests.
  • n. The weight that must be carried by a horse in a race, the handicap.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which is imposed or levied; a tax, tribute, or duty; especially, a duty or tax laid by goverment on goods imported into a country.
  • n. The top member of a pillar, pier, wall, etc., upon which the weight of an arch rests.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That which is imposed or levied; a tax, tribute, or duty; particularly, a duty or tax laid by government on goods imported; a customs-duty.
  • n. In architecture, the point where an arch rests on a wall or column; also, the condition of such resting or meeting.
  • n. In sporting slang, a weight placed upon a horse in a handicap race.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the lowest stone in an arch -- from which it springs
  • n. money collected under a tariff

Etymologies

Obsolete French, from Old French, from Medieval Latin impostum, from Latin, neuter of impostus, variant of impositus, past participle of impōnere, to place upon; see impose.
French imposte, from Italian imposta, from Latin, feminine past participle of impōnere, to place upon; see impose.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian imposta, from Latin imposta (Wiktionary)
From Middle French impost, from Latin impositus, past participle of impōnere ("to impose"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "Then as now, all racehorses were assigned a weight, called an impost, to carry in each race. The impost consisted of the jockey, his roughly four and a half pounds of saddle, boots, pants, and silks, and, if necessary, lead pads inserted into the saddle."
    —Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit: An American Legend (New York: Ballantine Books, 2001), 65

    October 20, 2008