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 group will grow to 1.9 million by January 2021 when worker unemployment benefits expire, leaving them with incomes below the threshold to qualify for tax credits. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: 20 million more now eligible for Obamacare coverage," 13 May 2020 Pelosi’s bill does include a tax credit for employers who retain workers, which leadership thinks might preserve more jobs. Joe Garofoli,, "Why progressives are angry with Nancy Pelosi," 13 May 2020 The state kicked in an additional $300,000 grant and state tax credits. Desperation Town, ProPublica, "These Companies Got Millions in Tax Breaks to Bring Jobs to Youngstown. They Created Next to None.," 12 May 2020 Existing tax credits mostly encourage companies to use CCUS on their own terms, often ones that are making the climate problem worse. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "There Are Green Jobs Hiding in the Oilfields," 12 May 2020 But neither the tax cut nor liability protection is in the House bill. Fox News, "House Dems unveil coronavirus bill estimated to cost $3T, in largest stimulus package yet," 12 May 2020 But the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority has ruled the project is ineligible for the tax credits. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Delayed plan for King Library/apartments takes another hit. Developers to try again.," 6 May 2020 The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act, signed into law March 27, made cash rebates of up to $1,200 — technically, an advance 2020 tax credit — available to 150 million Americans. Washington Post, "IRS says $1,200 stimulus payments sent to dead people have to be returned," 6 May 2020 Meanwhile, tax cuts that favor corporations and wealthy individuals and actions such as stock buybacks have further muted the impact of economic growth on Main Street. William M. Rodgers Iii, The Conversation, "Black Americans are bearing the brunt of coronavirus recession – this should come as no surprise," 6 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The bonus was taxed at like 50%, which people were really upset about. Cait Munro,, "A Trader Joe’s Employee Talks Hazard Pay, Health Insurance, & More," 8 May 2020 The first bracket—all wealth between 3.6 million rand and 27 million rand—would be taxed at a 3% rate, the second bracket (27 million rand to 119 million rand) at 5%, and all wealth above 119 million rand at 7%. Aroop Chatterjee, Quartz Africa, "South Africa needs a wealth tax to help stop coronavirus worsening inequality," 30 Apr. 2020 The distributions will still be taxed, but this obligation can now be spread out over the next two years. Nathan Bachrach And Amy Wagner,, "Simply Money: Steps to take if you’ve been furloughed," 22 Apr. 2020 Menstrual products are still being taxed while other essential items are not. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Finally, You Can Now Buy Menstrual Products Using Your HSA," 14 Apr. 2020 Agencies like the Small Business Administration and state unemployment systems will be severely taxed, and conservatives fear that a new, generous unemployment benefit will dissuade jobless people from returning to the workforce. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump signs $2.2 trillion rescue package after swift congressional votes," 27 Mar. 2020 In fact, taxing restaurants is a power already granted to some cities. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "More taxing powers, including on restaurants, could be coming to Kentucky cities," 24 Feb. 2020 Getting outside money is crucial not just to feed Mr. Son’s investing appetite: Without independent capital in the fund, any future gains would be heavily taxed. Bradley Hope, WSJ, "New SoftBank Tech Fund Falls Far Short of $108 Billion Fundraising Goal," 8 Feb. 2020 Politicians also argue that taxing revenue may be the best way to squeeze money out of companies like Inc. that report large sales but paltry earnings. William Horobin And Aoife White | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "How ‘Digital Tax’ Plans in Europe Hit U.S. Tech," 3 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

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 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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