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 Lawmakers on Wednesday also recommended a new tax credit for homeowners to replace lead hazards in homes and apartment buildings. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lawmakers, Evers release plans to address water contamination in Wisconsin," 8 Jan. 2020 The Problem: California law prohibits local governments from using realignment dollars to save county tax dollars that would otherwise have been spent on jail or other law enforcement programs. Jason Pohl, ProPublica, "California’s Jails Are in a Deadly Crisis. Here’s How Experts Suggest Fixing Them.," 7 Jan. 2020 The car is aimed squarely at the mainstream—Fisker says the Ocean starts at $37,499 (before the $7,500 IRS tax credit), with flexible leases from $379 per month for terms as short as a single month with no long-term contract. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Fisker shows off its new $37,499 electric crossover, due in 2022," 6 Jan. 2020 Even with tens of millions more in tax dollars going to Arizona public schools, the state remains among the bottom five for educational funding. Chase Hunter, azcentral, "Parents camp out 36 hours to register for Glendale's top-ranked Sunnyslope High School," 5 Jan. 2020 Electric motorcycles also qualify for federal and state tax credits, similar to those for electric cars, although in smaller amounts. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Going electric could help revive the motorcycle industry," 31 Dec. 2019 Although photovoltaics continue to gain efficiency, the fate of the tax credit is uncertain. Wired Staff, Wired, "2020 in Science: A SpaceX Bonanza, Lab-Grown Brains, and More," 31 Dec. 2019 EVs have flooded the market with ever-increasing battery performance, lower prices (thanks in part to tax credits), and more evolved design. Eric Adams, Popular Mechanics, "The Electric Decade: How EVs Redefined Transportation in the 2010s," 30 Dec. 2019 As reported by Deadline, a potential third season of You was awarded $7.213 million in the latest round of California tax credits recipients. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "You Season 3: Everything You Need to Know," 25 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bockenstedt leaned on annual reports by the District of Columbia comparing its own tax burden to that of the largest city in every state to argue Anchorage residents are not heavily taxed. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage Assembly members pitch residents on new taxes," 10 Jan. 2020 Because such payments to Ireland wouldn’t be taxed, some companies that had been the most aggressive at shifting profits into offshore havens were spared the full brunt of the BEAT. New York Times, "How Big Companies Won New Tax Breaks From the Trump Administration," 30 Dec. 2019 Ward also said that residents may not fully realize that each Lyndhurst police and fire shift is staffed to handle a normal workload, but that in emergencies, the city’s safety forces can become taxed. cleveland, "Sunview students, parents deliver posters of thanks to Lyndhurst officials after Sept. 13 storm," 3 Oct. 2019 And with good reason: U.S. airlines don’t pay federal taxes on additional fees, unlike a fare increase, which is taxed. Dan Catchpole, Fortune, "Gate-Checked Again? Here’s Why There’s No Room for Your Carry-On Bags in the Overhead Bin," 19 Dec. 2019 Accordingly, Europe will review aviation’s tax exemptions — kerosene isn’t taxed — and consider cutting the free allowances allocated to airlines under Europe’s emissions trading system. Chris Bryant | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Business Class Flying Is Under Attack," 13 Dec. 2019 New Delhi alone could raise up to Rs725 crore ($101.2 million) a year, while Mumbai can raise Rs641 crore if weed is taxed at the same rate as the most popular cigarette in the city. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "Delhi consumes more weed than Los Angeles, Mumbai more than London," 10 Sep. 2019 The question is whether the ballot initiative will prescribe where that money goes and at what rate the industry will be taxed. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "10 things to look for in a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona," 29 June 2019 That, and even gift cards, could be taxed as income, Weiss says. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Buy a gift for the boss? Here are some do's and don'ts for giving gifts at the office," 12 Dec. 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

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tax.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 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

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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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