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

When President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager went on trial this summer for bank fraud and tax evasion, his huge clothing bills were cited by prosecutors as evidence of the lobbyist’s decadence and dishonesty. Maer Roshan, Town & Country, "In Beverly Hills and Beyond, Bijan Carries on a Tradition of Excess and Exclusivity," 22 Oct. 2018 Schrager spoke about his pardon from President Obama for his felony tax evasion charges in 1980. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Ian Schrager Gives Advice on What Every Party Needs at the Studio 54 Documentary Premiere," 5 Oct. 2018 Trump got away with tax evasion during an era of generally more rigorous enforcement. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Seriously, we need to see Donald Trump’s tax returns," 3 Oct. 2018 Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges including tax evasion and bank fraud stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Fox News, "Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to charges in Russia probe," 2 Oct. 2018 Carriers' previous actions show that savings from tax cuts and deregulation don't necessarily cause new deployment. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Ajit Pai slams cities and towns as FCC erases $2 billion in local fees," 26 Sep. 2018 Cohen subsequently pled guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations, according to NBC News. Cindy Otis, Teen Vogue, "What the Manafort Verdict Means for President Donald Trump," 23 Aug. 2018 And when donating to charities, don’t forget to get a receipt to claim a tax deduction. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Where to donate furniture and household items," 8 Nov. 2018 Tesla is also facing the phaseout of a generous $7,500 electric-vehicle tax credit next year in the United States, which could be a drag on sales in 2019 and beyond. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why almost everyone was wrong about Tesla’s cash flow situation," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

New Jersey is expected to tax gaming revenue between 8%-10%, and Mississippi, another state that could launch sports gambling in the coming week, will have a tax of 8%. A.j. Perez, USA TODAY, "High cost of launching sports betting in certain states could keep companies away," 17 May 2018 And next week the United States is to start taxing $34 billion in Chinese goods and later add tariffs on an additional $16 billion in goods. Washington Post, "Mattis, China leaders strike positive tone despite tensions," 27 June 2018 The European Union will start taxing a range of U.S. imports on Friday, including Harley-Davidson bikes, cranberries, peanut butter, playing cards and whiskey. Bruce Schreiner, USA TODAY, "European Union tariffs stir unrest among American whiskey producers," 21 June 2018 The European Union will start taxing on Friday a range of imports from the U.S., including Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Wisconsin cranberries, in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on European steel and aluminum. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tariffs coming on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, cranberries and aluminum for boats," 20 June 2018 The quest for germ-free travel is part of an industry effort to make flying less taxing on the body as non-stop 17-hour marathons become common. Fortune, "This New Airline Seat Will Clean Itself and Destroy Germs," 9 May 2018 That means if the legislature were to override the tax reform veto and the Senate were to approve House changes to SB 197, Kentucky would start taxing the very first dollar of Granny’s pension. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Frankfort is so screwed up, it almost taxed all of your Granny's pension," 11 Apr. 2018 Barney said this case in particular, involving the deaths of multiple children, has been taxing for his small agency. Kale Williams,, "Police head back to California cliff to search for missing NW kids -- and answers," 29 Mar. 2018 The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before! Courtney Becker,, "Harley-Davidson could be first of many U.S. firms to shift production overseas," 27 June 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

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Learn More about tax

Dictionary Entries near tax







tax abatement

Statistics for tax

Last Updated

30 Nov 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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tax

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tax

Spanish Central: Translation of tax

Nglish: Translation of tax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tax for Arabic Speakers

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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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