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

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

The county provided and advocated for bond financing, special purpose taxes and other funding to rebuild Highland Hospital, create a Level-One trauma center, support behavioral health services, and fund care for the remaining uninsured. Joe Devries, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Why Alameda Health System needs more funding," 12 June 2019 Feldstein was a professor of economics at Harvard University for five decades, an expert on taxes and a leading advocate of supply-side economics. Rich Barbieri, CNN, "Martin Feldstein, one of the most influential economists of his generation, has died," 11 June 2019 But the latest round of tariffs on Mexican and Chinese goods could offset those roll-backs, according to David Logan, a tax and trade expert with the National Association of Home Builders. Randy Tucker,, "Trump tariffs hit local homebuilders and buyers hard," 9 June 2019 With the proper legal, tax and philanthropic advice, many philanthropists can take smart risks and potentially achieve outsized returns with their philanthropic dollars. Bruce Deboskey, The Denver Post, "On Philanthropy: Philanthropy is the ultimate “risk capital”," 9 June 2019 Tour operators and farmers complain of lower profits due to new taxes and rule changes. The Economist, "Tanzania’s president loves mega-projects. Careful planning, less so," 8 June 2019 The fund, created by Public Act 51, is revenue raised primarily from motor fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees. Kristi Tanner,, "FREE PRESS INVESTIGATION Thank heavens: They finally got their bridge fixed; many communities still suffer," 7 June 2019 The bill, which takes effect Sept. 1, specifically prevents local governments from entering into reduced tax and lease agreements with such organizations. April Siese, CBS News, "Texas governor signs law banning cities and counties from doing business with abortion providers," 7 June 2019 Biden is just another big-government leftist, hooked on high taxes and reckless spending. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Waiting to Exhale: Biden’s $1.7 Trillion Anti-CO2 Tax Hike," 7 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That being said, the UNC bullpen was taxed on Saturday. Sam Blum |,, "Pregame news, notes before Auburn faces UNC for spot in CWS," 9 June 2019 Although tax reform was originally touted as a shift to a territorial system, meaning only profits attributable to the U.S. are taxed, the tax code now is arguably more international than ever. Chetan Vagholkar, Houston Chronicle, "Tax reform an opportunity for tax professionals," 5 June 2019 Currently, the tax applies to any income over $5.3 million per year which is taxed at a 40 percent rate. Leigh Ann Caldwell, NBC News, "Booker unveils housing affordability plan," 5 June 2019 That may mean rethinking how fossil fuel companies are taxed—from the federal to the municipal level—and strengthening the requirements that companies must meet to do business in these communities. Darien Alexander Williams, Quartz, "The shameful hypocrisy of climate change philanthropy," 1 June 2019 The trade deal means U.S. beef continues to attract a 38.5% tariff, while Australian, Canadian and New Zealand beef is taxed at 26.6%—a rate... Mike Bird, WSJ, "Prepare for a Summer Showdown Between Trump and Tokyo," 28 May 2019 But be sure to give your scalp a vigorous shampoo during your next shower — dermatologists recommend keeping your scalp free of styling products so you’re not clogging already taxed pores. Jessica Chia, Allure, "The Best Hair Loss Treatments for Every Budget," 15 Oct. 2018 This means that money is taxed as ordinary income (like your wages). Nathan Bachrach,, "Will Social Security be there when I'm ready to retire?," 14 June 2018 One glaring flaw in his plan is his intention to tax capital-gains income as ordinary income, an idea which will surely be a nonstarter with a huge segment of America, particularly investors and businesses. WSJ, "Overtaxing Capital Gains Would Wallop Capitalism," 23 May 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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Learn More about tax

Dictionary Entries near tax







tax abatement

Statistics for tax

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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)

: 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

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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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