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 To the Scotts, the governor’s executive orders and mask mandate were tantamount to suggestions, since they were not approved by the California Legislature. Los Angeles Times, "In recall campaign against Newsom, rural California finds its moment," 12 Mar. 2021 The order — or the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which conducted the ensuing litigation in their name — asserted that even signing the form would be tantamount to their participating in the provision of contraception. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: The GOP concocts a lie about Becerra suing nuns over contraception coverage," 26 Feb. 2021 The Deutsche Bank team, though, estimates that with as much as $465 billion of direct stimulus money about to start flowing, 37% of that being put into equities would be tantamount to a $170 billion infusion into Wall Street. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "I’m shocked at how some of you plan to spend your stimulus money," 25 Feb. 2021 In Georgia's 14th Congressional District, winning the Republican nomination is tantamount to winning the seat. David Jackson And Evan Lasseter, USA TODAY, "'Around here, Trump is king.' How Marjorie Taylor Greene got to Congress by running as the MAGA candidate," 18 Feb. 2021 Preventing this damage, or understanding the extent of it, is therefore tantamount in a world facing immense climate challenges. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Two Gigantic Antarctic Glaciers Are Breaking Free, Which Is Not Great," 16 Sep. 2020 Standing still — even for a moment — was tantamount to suicide. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "Make the leap or get swept away with the current," 13 Sep. 2020 Former staff with qualms about Project Chimps say insufficient preventative cardiac care there is tantamount to neglect. Greg Kahn, National Geographic, "Sanctuary for retired lab chimps embroiled in dispute over quality of its care," 8 July 2020 The 13-day layoff was not tantamount to a vacation, Brooks said. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "COVID-ravaged Wizards glad to be in San Antonio — or anywhere," 24 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for tantamount

Time Traveler

The first known use of tantamount was in 1641

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Last Updated

25 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tantamount.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tantamount. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of tantamount

: equal to something in value, meaning, or effect

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