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

Mergers, by making them bigger, may mean higher surcharges. The Economist, "Why the euro zone hasn’t seen more cross-border bank mergers," 12 July 2018 The MoviePass service costs just $10 monthly for a ticket per day, so just about any surcharge represents a healthy increase, percentage-wise, over the basic charge. Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter, "MoviePass Starts Adding "Peak-Pricing" Surcharges," 5 July 2018 And in terms of sheer revenue, that ticket surcharge does pay off. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Ari Aster’s breakout horror hit Hereditary is pants-wettingly scary," 8 June 2018 Airline policies on adding taxes and surcharges to reward flights vary widely. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Airlines Raise Ticket Prices as Fuel Costs Surge," 6 June 2018 Under the plan, existing sales taxes from gun purchases would go toward the fund, as well as a new 6 percent surcharge would be placed on ammunition sales. Gray Rohrer,, "King calls for bullet tax to pay for gun violence prevention," 1 June 2018 From 2002 The taxes on my hotel bill in July 2002 in Houston: • 3.6 percent Texas Legislature surcharge on two phone calls. Peter King,, "Thank You, Thank You, Thank You: Peter King Says Farewell to SI’s Monday Morning QB," 21 May 2018 Uber—where Bird’s VanderZanden was head of growth—has been sued by disability groups and only offers Uber Family, a service with a car seat that allows parents to travel with kids, in a handful of cities, for a $10 surcharge. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Scooters could solve a big urban mobility issue—if startups listen," 3 May 2018 For those considering moving from New York, car-insurance costs alone amount to a $3,000 annual surcharge. The Economist, "Why Detroit is the most expensive city in America to buy car insurance," 5 July 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

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a magnificent or impressive array

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