tan·​ta·​mount ˈtan-tə-ˌmau̇nt How to pronounce tantamount (audio)
: equivalent in value, significance, or effect
a relationship tantamount to marriage

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Although tantamount (from the Anglo-French phrase tant amunter, meaning “to amount to as much”) was used three different ways in the early 17th century—as a noun, verb, and adjective—the adjective form has since proven paramount to English users: it’s still in use while the noun and verb are obsolete. This is not to say that the adjective hasn’t experienced change over the years. While it was once acceptable to use tantamount in a variety of different sentence structures, nowadays it is almost always followed by the word to. And to use it before a noun, as in “the two old friends exchanged tantamount greetings,” would now be considered, er, tantamount to riding a penny-farthing or boneshaker onto the expressway.

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 Prosecutors tossed the initial indictment that would have relied on True the Vote’s information and later filed new charges of embezzlement against Yu, claiming his violation of a contract promise not to store information outside the country was tantamount to a theft of public funds. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2023 For Carter, incorporating Cardi’s Afro-Latina roots into the looks was tantamount. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 12 Sep. 2023 Somehow, water contamination and air pollution in poor communities are tantamount to the de jure segregation of schools during the 20th century. Caleb Nunes, National Review, 8 Sep. 2023 Mexican officials have said such actions would be tantamount to an invasion by the United States of its top trade partner. Nick Miroff, Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2023 But many observers speculated that Mr. Prigozhin’s betrayal was tantamount to a death sentence. Anton Troianovski, New York Times, 23 Aug. 2023 According to the people familiar with the case, Dynamo reported to Buma that the activists also sought foreign investors—which raised additional questions about whether the money being solicited for the film would be tantamount to an undisclosed campaign contribution. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 14 Aug. 2023 Beijing is trying to curtail Taiwan’s international contacts, and Chinese leaders nurse a special loathing for the Democratic Progressive Party, which seeks to assert Taiwan’s separateness from China, a position that Beijing says is tantamount to seeking outright independence. Chris Buckley, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Aug. 2023 Confusion had swirled around the ratings system—many mistook the numeric grade as being tantamount to the kind of controversial ESG scores that saw Tesla get booted from an S&P sustainability index last year while oil giant Exxon Mobil was allowed to remain. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 8 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tantamount.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1641, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tantamount was in 1641


Dictionary Entries Near tantamount

Cite this Entry

“Tantamount.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tantamount. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


tan·​ta·​mount ˈtant-ə-ˌmau̇nt How to pronounce tantamount (audio)
: equal in value, meaning, or effect
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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