tan·​ta·​mount | \ˈtan-tə-ˌmau̇nt \

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

While some moderates envision a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, conservatives -- particularly those in the House Freedom Caucus -- have called such a move tantamount to amnesty. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Paul Ryan scrambles to calm GOP insurrection over immigration," 2 Oct. 2018 For all the speculation about the existence of the pee tape, the latest revelations prove what is tantamount to the same thing. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Russian Leverage Over Trump Is Not Just a Theory. It’s Now Fact.," 8 May 2018 For many people of color in France, the state’s refusal to address the issue is tantamount to an implicit acceptance of discrimination. James Mcauley, Washington Post, "In the age of #MeToo, these French actresses are also protesting the film industry’s lack of racial diversity," 18 May 2018 There are many experts who believe this would essentially be tantamount to eliminating the Education Department, which was a Donald Trump campaign promise. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Two federal departments for the price of one?," 23 June 2018 In the nation’s capital, where the overwhelming majority of voters are registered Democrats, the primary is tantamount to a general election - unless an independent challenger emerges in time for the November contest. Washington Post, "District voters head to the polls," 19 June 2018 In the demonology of the left, the Kochs are tantamount to Satan. Jeff Jacoby, BostonGlobe.com, "Pro-immigrant Republicans, from Lincoln to the Koch brothers," 15 June 2018 Elrich has racked up a panoply of other endorsements — many from labor unions and progressive groups — in his bid to win the six-way Democratic primary race, which in liberal Montgomery is tantamount to winning the general election. Washington Post, "Local Digest: Man fatally shot in Southeast Washington," 9 June 2018 As the report acknowledges, some people believe that removing Confederate symbols is tantamount to erasing a chapter of United States history. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "At Least 110 Confederate Monuments and Symbols Have Been Removed Since 2015," 9 June 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

Share tantamount

Listen to Our Podcast about tantamount

Statistics for tantamount

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!