tan·​ta·​mount | \ ˈtan-tə-ˌmau̇nt How to pronounce tantamount (audio) \

Definition of tantamount

: equivalent in value, significance, or effect a relationship tantamount to marriage

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Tantamount comes from the Anglo-French phrase tant amunter, meaning "to amount to as much." This phrase comes from the Old French tant, meaning "so much" or "as much," and amounter, meaning "to ascend" or "to add up to." When tantamount first entered English, it was used similarly to the Anglo-French phrase, as a verb meaning "to be equivalent." "His not denying tant-amounteth to the affirming of the matter," wrote clergyman Thomas Fuller in 1659, for example. There was also a noun tantamount in the 17th century, but the adjective is the only commonly used form of the term nowadays.

Examples of tantamount in a Sentence

His statement was tantamount to an admission of guilt. They see any criticism of the President as tantamount to treason.

Recent Examples on the Web

To some traditionalists, such recklessness is tantamount to changing the Declaration of Independence, in other words fiddling about with a set of words which, once delivered, was meant to stand for all time. The Economist, "A new rendering of Christianity’s best-known supplication," 8 June 2019 The revelation was seized on by some conservative media outlets and social media pundits, who said the situation was tantamount to tax fraud — a charge Omar denied. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Ilhan Omar’s tax filings scrutinized. Here’s a timeline, including her marriage status.," 7 June 2019 Before giving birth, I had been taught — by doctors, mom blogs, relatives, and blissful celebrity mom Instagrams — that breast was best, and that giving my child formula was tantamount to force-feeding him cigarettes and McFlurries. E.j. Dickson, Vox, "Inside the mommy-friendly, scientifically sketchy world of breastfeeding supplements," 20 Dec. 2018 But for those who see the American flag as semisacred, importing flags is tantamount to sacrilege. Michael D. Breidenbach, The Atlantic, "Raising the American Flag Made in China," 4 July 2018 This is tantamount to affirmative action for well-off white students. The Economist, "A lawsuit reveals how peculiar Harvard’s definition of merit is," 21 June 2018 Nearly six months after the detective, Kenneth Valdez, was indefinitely suspended, which is tantamount to being fired, records and video obtained by the San Antonio Express-News reveal conflicting accounts of what went wrong. Emilie Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "Six months after a sex-crimes detective was fired, a woman still waits for justice," 16 Apr. 2018 That's because nudity contracts can be amended, says Dang, and a verbal, on-the-spot agreement is tantamount to legal consent. Jessica P. Ogilvie, chicagotribune.com, "How actresses who are just starting out get pressured into 'creepy' nude scenes," 12 Mar. 2018 And isn’t that tantamount to violence against women? Abigail Shrier, WSJ, "#MeToo Becomes a Political Ploy," 25 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tantamount.' 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 tantamount

1641, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tantamount

obsolete tantamount, noun, equivalent, from Anglo-French tant amunter to amount to as much

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tantamount

Listen to Our Podcast about tantamount

Statistics for tantamount

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tantamount

The first known use of tantamount was in 1641

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tantamount



English Language Learners Definition of tantamount

: equal to something in value, meaning, or effect

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tantamount

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


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!