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

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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

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 Newsletter Sign-up A Sputnik representative said the company’s journalists focus on only news, and that Facebook’s decision to block some of its pages is tantamount to political censorship. Stu Woo, WSJ, "Facebook Pulls More Russia-Linked Accounts," 17 Jan. 2019 To the president, admitting to a mistake is tantamount to weakness and failure, and his underlings have already learned to follow his example. Jay Willis, GQ, "The Trump White House Will Never Apologize for Anything," 8 Feb. 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.

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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

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Statistics for tantamount

Last Updated

16 May 2019

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Time Traveler for tantamount

The first known use of tantamount was in 1641

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English Language Learners Definition of tantamount

: equal to something in value, meaning, or effect

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using a distributed computer network

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