sur·​charge | \ˈsər-ˌchärj \
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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for surcharge

Synonyms: Verb

gouge, overcharge, soak, sting

Antonyms: Verb


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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


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


The airline has added a $20 fuel surcharge on all international flights.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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 (and California moved to expand it)," 9 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The surcharge is typically modest, often less than $100, experts say. Michelle Andrews, Washington Post, "A Hospital ER Charges An ‘After-Hours’ Fee. Who Has To Pay It?," 5 June 2018 The end of the surcharge brought customers’ average monthly bill back down to about $99.37, based on FPL’s typical 1,000-kilowatt-hour bill. Martin Vassolo, miamiherald, "FPL boasts of customer savings. But did it overcharge for hurricane costs? | Miami Herald," 29 Mar. 2018 The surcharge also pays for 18 staffers to monitor the ride-hailing industry. Andrew Theen,, "Portland will pay for your taxi ride home on St. Patrick's Day," 16 Mar. 2018 Teams that go over the threshold must pay a 20 percent tax for each dollar over the limit and face a 12 percent surcharge if the overage is from $20 million to $40 million. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers' deadline dilemma: Find trade for Beltre or keep him for 2018, beyond," 24 June 2018 Approved by Boston voters in 2016, the act levies a 1 percent surcharge on property tax bills to generate millions of dollars of revenue for community projects. Milton J. Valencia,, "An urban farm, a Roxbury church, and a sailing dock in Southie: the first CPA grants are revealed," 18 June 2018 The president had originally asked for a 6 percent tax surcharge. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Charles Zwick, Who Balanced Budget Under Johnson, Dies at 91," 24 Apr. 2018 New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney is looking to impose a 3 percent tax surcharge on businesses with more than $1 million in net income., "New Jersey Senate Leader Proposes Tax Surcharge on Corporations," 6 Mar. 2018 In 2017, the average revenue per mile, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 15% on a year-over-year basis. Kirsten Korosec, Fortune, "America's Trucker Shortage Is Hitting Home," 27 June 2018

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for surcharge

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

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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 \

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

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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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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