1580s, "swindler, cheat," from French imposteur (16c.), from Late Latin impostor "a deceiver," agent noun from impostus, contraction of impositus, past participle of imponere "place upon, impose upon, deceive," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + ponere "to put, place" (past participle positus; see position (n.)). Meaning "one who passes himself off as another" is from 1620s. Related: Impostrous. For a fem. form, Bacon uses French-based impostress (1610s) while Fuller, the church historian, uses Latinate impostrix (1650s).
"tax, duty," 1560s, from French impost (15c., Modern French impôt), from Medieval Latin impostum "a tax imposed," noun use of neuter of Latin impostus, contracted form of impositus, past participle of imponere "to place upon, impose upon" (see impostor). Compare depot. As an architectural term, 1660s, from French imposte (16c.), from Italian imposta, from the same Latin source.
It forms all or part of: and; atoll; dysentery; embargo; embarrass; embryo; empire; employ; en- (1) "in; into;" en- (2) "near, at, in, on, within;" enclave; endo-; enema; engine; enoptomancy; enter; enteric; enteritis; entero-; entice; ento-; entrails; envoy; envy; episode; esoteric; imbroglio; immolate; immure; impede; impend; impetus; important; impostor; impresario; impromptu; in; in- (2) "into, in, on, upon;" inchoate; incite; increase; inculcate; incumbent; industry; indigence; inflict; ingenuous; ingest; inly; inmost; inn; innate; inner; innuendo; inoculate; insignia; instant; intaglio; inter-; interim; interior; intern; internal; intestine; intimate (adj.) "closely acquainted, very familiar;" intra-; intricate; intrinsic; intro-; introduce; introduction; introit; introspect; invert; mesentery.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit antara- "interior;" Greek en "in," eis "into," endon "within;" Latin in "in, into," intro "inward," intra "inside, within;" Old Irish in, Welsh yn, Old Church Slavonic on-, Old English in "in, into," inne "within, inside."
"swindler, impostor," c. 1600; also "one easily cheated" (1640s); "a swindle, trick, sham, imposition" (1708), an obsolete word said to be from Turkish chaush "sergeant, herald, messenger," but the sense connection is obscure. Century Dictionary says the Turkish word is via Arabic khawas from Hindi khawas "an attendant." Also used as a verb, "to cheat, swindle" (1650s).
1815, from the true Simon Pure "the genuine person or thing" (1795), from Simon Pure, name of a Quaker who is impersonated by another character (Colonel Feignwell) in part of the comedy "A Bold Stroke for a Wife" (1717) by Susannah Centlivre, English dramatist and actress. The real Simon Pure is dealt with as an impostor in the play and is believed only after he has proved his identity.
mid-14c., "criminal deception" (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin); from Old French fraude "deception, fraud" (13c.), from Latin fraudem (nominative fraus) "a cheating, deceit," of persons "a cheater, deceiver," of uncertain origin. Connections have been proposed to Sanskrit dhruti- "deception; error."
Meaning "a fraudulent production, something intended to deceive" is from 1650s. The meaning "impostor, deceiver, pretender; humbug" is attested from 1850. Pious fraud (1560s) is properly "deception practiced for the sake of what is deemed a good purpose;" colloquially used as "person who talks piously but is not pious at heart."
It was active in forming compounds, such as shendful (Old English scandful) "shameful," shendship "disgrace;" Old English scandhus "house of ill-fame," scandlic "shameful," scandlufiende "loving shamefully," scandword "obscene language").