sur·​charge | \ ˈsər-ˌchärj How to pronounce surcharge (audio) \
surcharged; surcharging; surcharges

Definition of surcharge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : overcharge
b : to charge an extra fee
c : to show an omission in (an account) for which credit ought to have been given
2 British : overstock
3 : to fill or load to excess the atmosphere … was surcharged with war hysteria— H. A. Chippendale
4a : to mark a surcharge on (a stamp)
b : overprint surcharge a banknote



Definition of surcharge (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an additional tax, cost, or impost
b : an extra fare a sleeping car surcharge
c : an instance of surcharging an account
2 : an excessive load or burden
3 : the action of surcharging : the state of being surcharged
4a(1) : an overprint on a stamp specifically : one that alters the denomination
(2) : a stamp bearing such an overprint
b : an overprint on a currency note

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for surcharge

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

The Arab oil embargo of 1973 led airlines to add fuel surcharges to their passenger fares that were large enough to discourage air travel. Surcharges are usually added for special service. When you request a "rush job" from a service supplier, it will probably bring a surcharge along with it. A particularly difficult phone installation may carry a surcharge. An extra-large fine for a speeding offense after you've already had too many tickets could be called a surcharge. An added tax may be called a surcharge (or surtax) when it only affects people with incomes above a certain level. And if those low, low prices that show up in really big letters in ads for all kinds of services turn out to be misleading, it's probably because they don't include a bunch of surcharges that you won't find out about till later.

Examples of surcharge in a Sentence

Verb contends that with the present tax structure, the state's lower-income residents are being surcharged and the wealthiest residents are getting off too lightly Noun The airline has added a $20 fuel surcharge on all international flights.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In addition to sales tax, the governor’s budget language would let New York City collect a $1.50-per-room nightly surcharge on hotel stays. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Cuomo Proposes Airbnb Collect Sales Tax on New York Stays," 25 Jan. 2021 The Osceola County Clerk of Court will be waiving a 40% collections surcharge during its Operation Green Light from Monday through Nov. 20. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Drivers in Orange, Osceola can get help restoring suspended licenses next week," 6 Nov. 2020 The county had a fund balance of $6.6 million in school facilities surcharge revenues at the end of fiscal 2018. Erin B. Logan,, "Howard County Council bill would significantly hike fees on developers to help build schools," 23 Aug. 2019 The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote, protects Americans from being refused or surcharged for insurance because of their medical history. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Kamala Harris joins the club with a solid ‘Medicare for all’ proposal," 29 July 2019 Soil surcharging work done ... Over the last two years, the SpaceX site was essentially leveled, loaded with hundreds of tons of soil, plumbed with drainage pipes, and then left alone to have gravity do the rest of the work. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: SpaceX gets Moon launches, South Korean rocket, BE-4 wins," 28 Sep. 2018 Cracks and joint separations are allowing stormwater to infiltrate and surcharge the lines, causing them to overflow from manholes. Lawrence Specker,, "Mobile water service lowers estimate of Cindy sewer overflows, says 'serious problem' remains," 23 June 2017 The House bill allows states to obtain waivers allowing insurers to reject applicants with medical conditions or surcharge them heavily under certain circumstances. Michael Hiltzik,, "While you watched Comey, Senate GOP moved to cripple healthcare," 9 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Add caviar, wine, or bottled cocktails for a surcharge. Kara Baskin,, "Where to celebrate Valentine’s Day," 5 Feb. 2021 The surcharge, if any, is usually based on your income from the previous year, because that’s the most recent tax return available. Kathleen Pender,, "Answers to Bay Area readers’ questions on Prop. 19, Medicare surcharge, RMDs," 19 Dec. 2020 The districts would add a hotel surcharge and put the money toward tourism industry investment. Sarah Downey, Washington Examiner, "Continued closure of border with Canada stifling economy of western New York," 1 Oct. 2020 When the roughly 1-cent per gallon surcharge was put on refined products it was expected to bring in approximately $7.5 million per year, but actual revenue has been about $1 million short of that. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Environmental regulators seek more money for Alaska’s spill response fund," 25 Sep. 2020 The surcharge is also being put in place in hopes of generating up to $500,000 through the end of the year to hire staff, pay for cleaning supplies and other park needs. oregonlive, "Oregon State Parks to add temporary out-of-state camping surcharge," 7 Aug. 2020 In addition, a surcharge in SDG&E’s electric franchise accounted for $63.6 million to the city’s Utility Undergrounding Program. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego City Council approves 5-month extension to SDG&E franchise agreement," 30 Dec. 2020 Clipper cards require a one-time $3 surcharge fee to purchase, but offer a 50 cent discount per ride compared to paper tickets. Mallory Moench,, "The end of an era: BART no longer selling paper tickets, Clipper only," 15 Dec. 2020 About 20% of the funding will come from the Port Authority, the other 80% from a surcharge on exports and an increase in dockage fees. al, "Change on the waterfront: New docks head sees growing statewide impact," 27 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surcharge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of surcharge


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for surcharge


Middle English, from Anglo-French surcharger, from sur- + charger to load, charge — more at charge entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surcharge

Time Traveler for surcharge

Time Traveler

The first known use of surcharge was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for surcharge

Last Updated

31 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Surcharge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for surcharge



English Language Learners Definition of surcharge

: an amount of money that must be paid in addition to the regular price


transitive verb
sur·​charge | \ ˈsər-ˌchärj How to pronounce surcharge (audio) \

Legal Definition of surcharge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to impose a surcharge on surcharge a trustee for failing to exercise due care
2 : to show an omission in (an account) for which credit ought to have been given



Legal Definition of surcharge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an additional or excessive charge
2 : a penalty imposed on a fiduciary for failing to exercise due care in the management of assets

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on surcharge

What made you want to look up surcharge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!