noun, often attributive
\ ˈtaks How to pronounce tax (audio) \

Definition of tax

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a charge usually of money imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes
b : a sum levied on members of an organization to defray expenses
2 : a heavy demand


taxed; taxing; taxes

Definition of tax (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to levy a tax on
2 : to make onerous and rigorous demands on the job taxed her strength
3 : charge, accuse taxed him with neglect of duty also : censure
4 : to assess or determine judicially the amount of (costs in a court action)
5 obsolete : to enter (a name) in a list there went out a decree … that all the world should be taxed — Luke 2:1 (King James Version)
variants: or taxo- or less commonly taxi-

Definition of tax- (Entry 3 of 3)

: arrangement taxeme taxidermy

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Other Words from tax


taxable \ ˈtak-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce taxable (audio) \ adjective
taxer noun

Synonyms for tax

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of tax in a Sentence

Noun The decision was made to raise taxes. He was accused of evading taxes. What was your income before taxes? What is the amount of tax to be paid? What was your income before tax? Verb He believes in taxing the rich to give to the poor. You are taxed according to your income. puzzles that tax your brain
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 27 countries in the European Union have collectively deployed more than 200 billion euros (about $219 billion) to finance a raft of measures, like cutting taxes and extending unemployment benefits. New York Times, "Will ‘Helicopter Money’ and the ‘Big Bazooka’ Help Rescue Europe?," 20 Mar. 2020 Oxnard will also waive late utility fees, library fines and business tax penalties. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, "In California: Unemployment claims spike. Good thing Tesla stayed open," 19 Mar. 2020 Roughly 130 million households received tax rebates in the latter effort. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Cash handouts are coming as countries do 'whatever it takes' to survive the pandemic shock," 19 Mar. 2020 Employment taxes add an additional 15.3% and state income taxes often add an additional 5% or so. WSJ, "Poor Data and Confirmation Bias Mislead," 19 Mar. 2020 Among the other issues are adjusting salaries, luxury tax rules, revenue sharing and performance bonuses thresholds in the event of a season of fewer than 162 games, and relaxing schedule and roster rules. Dallas News, "AP source: MLB considers skipping amateur draft, delaying international signing period to preserve cash," 19 Mar. 2020 Typically, when an employer lays workers off, each claim of unemployment insurance can result in a tax rate increase for employers. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "Coronavirus shock hits San Antonio businesses, workers," 19 Mar. 2020 More: Whitmer bans tax foreclosures statewide during coronavirus threat Whitmer announced the executive order Wednesday, as the number of presumptive positive coronavirus cases in the state rose to more than 100. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Gov. Whitmer orders expansion of child care centers for essential workers," 19 Mar. 2020 The groups urge other companies, individuals, and organizations to contribute tax-deductible contributions at Laura Johnston, cleveland, "Cleveland charities coordinate $3.95 million coronavirus Rapid Response Fund," 18 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Being the last person in front of the goal can be very taxing on you mentally. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "WIAA girls basketball: Hoops has been a pretty good second option for Pewaukee's Lauren Schill and DSHA's Jadin O'Brien," 12 Mar. 2020 Society members were worried about seeing girls in skimpy bathing suits; their kids would try to swim in jeans, which left behind fibers that taxed the pool’s filtration system. Emma Green, The Atlantic, "The Christian Withdrawal Experiment," 12 Dec. 2019 There is talk of a 100% tariff on French wines and cheeses in retaliation for that country’s efforts to tax the activities of US technology giants—with more possible on products from Italy, Austria, and Turkey over the same issue. Charles Hankla, Quartz, "How the US-China trade war will affect your Christmas shopping," 12 Dec. 2019 And the best tools for that are taxing carbon or putting a price on it. Washington Post, "Europe’s Green Deal Is Great, Unless It’s a Backdoor to a Planned Economy," 11 Dec. 2019 Generally, the changes have, bit by bit, restricted the ways that tax prep companies could make money off people eligible for Free File. Justin Elliott, ProPublica, "The IRS Tried to Hide Emails That Show Tax Industry Influence Over Free File Program," 29 Oct. 2019 At first, Ramamurti sketched out a plan that taxed fortunes of twenty million dollars or more at one per cent. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "The French Economist Who Helped Invent Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax," 19 Oct. 2019 The Czech Republic’s top court has dismissed legislation that would have taxed the compensation churches receive from the state for property seized during the country’s communist era. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Czech top court dismisses taxation of church restitution," 15 Oct. 2019 That would tax virtually every good the U.S. buys from China. CBS News, "Trump announces "phase one" trade deal reached with China," 11 Oct. 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for tax


Middle English, to estimate, assess, tax, from Anglo-French taxer, from Medieval Latin taxare, from Latin, to feel, estimate, censure, frequentative of tangere to touch — more at tangent entry 2

Combining form

Greek taxi-, from taxis

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Time Traveler for tax

Time Traveler

The first known use of tax was in the 14th century

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Statistics for tax

Last Updated

22 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for tax



Financial Definition of tax

What It Is

Taxes are required payments from citizens to governments. The payments fund projects and expenditures that serve the public interest.

How It Works

Most taxes are legislated, meaning that representatives elected by the citizens of a country or region determine what activities to tax, how much to tax, when to collect those taxes, and how to administer the proceeds. Individuals, businesses, and other entities subject to the tax must remit the tax or face enforcement action.

Why It Matters

Taxes are a topic of fierce debate in economics, politics, public policy and investing. For example, one of the most controversial taxes in the United States is the federal income tax. In the U.S., we have a progressive tax, meaning that a person's tax rate rises as income rises.

Economically speaking, one of the biggest effects of taxation is the impact it has on consumption. Generally, consumers will consume less when taxes rise and consume more when taxes fall.

In the investing world, taxes are also a major consideration. Some transactions trigger tax liabilities while others do not. The timing of buying and selling certain investments may trigger different tax liabilities. Ultimately, taxes reduce returns, and wise investors will consider their effects in all of their financial decisions.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce tax- (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount of money that a government requires people to pay according to their income, the value of their property, etc., and that is used to pay for the things done by the government



English Language Learners Definition of tax (Entry 2 of 2)

: to require (someone) to pay a tax
: to require someone to pay a tax on (something)
: to require a lot from (something or someone) : to put demands on (something or someone)


\ ˈtaks How to pronounce tax (audio) \

Kids Definition of tax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: money collected by the government from people or businesses for public use


taxed; taxing

Kids Definition of tax (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to require to pay money to a government for public use
2 : to cause a strain on Fighting to survive the storm taxed their strength.

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Legal Definition of tax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to assess or determine judicially the amount of (costs of an action in court)
2 : to levy a tax on tax the corporation tax capital gains

Other Words from tax

taxer noun


noun, often attributive

Legal Definition of tax (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a charge usually of money imposed by legislative or other public authority upon persons or property for public purposes
2 : a sum levied on members of an organization to defray expenses

History and Etymology for tax

Transitive verb

Medieval Latin taxare to assess for taxation, tax, from Latin, to assess, value, fix

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More from Merriam-Webster on tax

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tax

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tax

Spanish Central: Translation of tax

Nglish: Translation of tax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tax for Arabic Speakers

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