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

Definition of surcharge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

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 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 That money will come from a 3.5% tax surcharge on taxable income above $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, "Marijuana, education and the Senate: 7 things that the election changed in Arizona," 7 Nov. 2020 Others noted the 2014 passage of a nonbinding proposition asking voters whether the state should have a 3% income tax surcharge on the income of millionaires, with the money raised dedicated to schools. Jamie Munks,, "Pandemic, lack of trust in government and Madigan effect help send graduated tax amendment to defeat," 6 Nov. 2020 Under the new law, any company that pays its top executive 100 times more than their average worker will pay an extra 0.1% surcharge on its annual business tax payment. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Note: Betting on Gridlock," 5 Nov. 2020 Opponents say that’s too big of a spike, noting that the owner of a home valued at $500,000 would see a property tax surcharge of more than $100 per year when all of the bonds have been sold in fiscal 2028. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Measure A, San Diego’s proposed housing bond, not getting enough support in early returns," 3 Nov. 2020 If approved by voters, the measure -- generating an extra $940 million a year -- would levy an additional 3.5% income tax surcharge on Arizona taxpayers with taxable income over $250,000, or over $500,000 for taxpayers who are filing joint returns. Julia Musto, Fox News, "Arizona school tax backers cry foul after Andy Biggs links their funding to PPP loans," 15 Oct. 2020 Corporations that make more than $1 million will pay an additional 2.5% surcharge until Dec. 31, 2023. Kim Jarrett, Washington Examiner, "New Jersey committees advance budget with $4.5B in borrowing," 23 Sep. 2020 The city, worried about its water supply, has imposed a surcharge on homeowners who use too much. Washington Post, "New homes on the range: Weary city dwellers escape to Montana, creating a property gold rush," 20 Oct. 2020 In New York, the City Council recently approved a potential up-to-10% Covid-19 surcharge that restaurants will be allowed to add to a check. Ethan Harp, CNN, "Think it's hard keeping a restaurant open in a pandemic? Try opening one," 4 Oct. 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

14 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surcharge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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