noun, often attributive
\ˈtaks \

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 \ adjective
taxer noun

Synonyms for tax

Synonyms: Noun

assessment, duty, imposition, impost, levy

Synonyms: Verb

strain, stretch, test, try

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Examples of tax in a Sentence


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?


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

In some cases, that could mean higher rents on apartments or more tax dollars spent on a new bridge. Adam Vaccaro,, "Tariffs are making it more expensive to build in Boston — and that could push rents even higher," 12 July 2018 The Heat still likes Johnson but wants to thin its roster and create more payroll flexibility, with Miami just $3 million from the $123 million luxury tax threshold. Barry Jackson, miamiherald, "Tyler Johnson contract creating challenges, and these interesting future options for Heat," 12 July 2018 Some people have commented on the video calling it a waste of tax dollars. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Lip-syncing cops in Virginia challenge Seattle police in viral video," 10 July 2018 In the original version of the measure, the tax was 2 percent. Trisha Thadani,, "SF supervisors committee tinkers with tax measures on cannabis, ride services," 13 July 2018 Bell has committed to keep 4,500 employees in Fort Worth through 2020 and 3,900 workers through 2028, under terms of a $13.5 million tax incentive deal with the city of Fort Worth. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "Bell just got a big military aircraft contract. Will Fort Worth get any new jobs?," 12 July 2018 But California is home to the first soda tax; Berkeley passed one in 2014. Laura Mccrystal,, "California banned new soda taxes. Could it happen in Pennsylvania?," 12 July 2018 That money comes from taxpayers who decided to direct $1 from their tax liability on their annual income tax returns to the system. The state matches money that eligible candidates raise in increments of up to $250. Joshua Miller,, "Gonzalez, Massie get cash infusion from public financing," 12 July 2018 No amount of tax cuts for the rich or appointments of conservative justices to the Supreme Court is worth the endorsement of cruel treatment of other human beings. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Slowik: Trump, race and why it seems like a hate-fueled confrontation might happen anywhere, anytime," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What followed were the infamous Stamp and Townsend acts, which directly taxed the colonists and imposed import duties on various items, including tea. Hoyt Hilsman, WSJ, "Tariffs Made America Great," 10 July 2018 In his dissent, John Roberts, the chief justice, noted the country had over 10,000 tax localities, many of which have their own arcane laws on how different products should be taxed. The Economist, "Amazon wins from a Supreme Court ruling," 10 July 2018 Needing a quality outing from its starter after their bullpen was taxed yet again in Thursday’s debacle Dan Straily delivered by throwing a season-high 111 pitches in six innings. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Miami Marlins suffer different kind of pain two days in a row in losses to Nationals," 6 July 2018 There are a number of services that currently aren't taxed that would be under the new plan. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Get used to paying more for services (auto repair, gyms) under new tax," 29 June 2018 Knives and forks and other essentials would be taxed, while Chinese tilapia — a popular item sold by Walmart Inc. and other retailers — is among the seafood on the list. Bruce Einhorn,, "Trump's trade war is about to hit home — and your home is no exception," 11 July 2018 In response to other tariffs, Canada, the European Union and Mexico have all taxed imports on American goods. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "As tariffs on China loom, McConnell says 'nobody wins in trade wars'," 5 July 2018 Tuition rates can vary dramatically depending on if a student lives in the college’s taxing district, qualifies as state resident or has nonresident status. Jaimy Jones, Houston Chronicle, "San Jac may drop ‘not needed’ policy on undocumented immigrants, in-state tuition," 5 July 2018 But its single, cramped setting and leisurely pacing could definitely tax the patience of horror fans looking for a more visceral, scare-laden experience. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lighthouse': Film Review," 4 July 2018

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

Transitive verb

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

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Dictionary Entries near tax







tax abatement

Statistics for tax

Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tax

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

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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



English Language Learners Definition of tax

 (Entry 1 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)



English Language Learners Definition of tax (Entry 2 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


\ˈtaks \

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

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Comments on tax

What made you want to look up tax? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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