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

But first, $50,000 raised by neighbors: A New Jersey man with special needs owed thousands in back taxes. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "New searing allegations against the Boy Scouts," 6 Aug. 2019 Kellem also failed to report more than $500,000 in income in 2017, allowing him to evade about $150,000 in taxes, prosecutors said. Abigail Feldman,, "Newton accountant charged with wire fraud, filing false tax return," 5 Aug. 2019 Or, opt to take advantage of fall deals from prepaid wireless service providers, which also wrap in taxes and fees. Doreen Christensen,, "Back to school: Insanely cheap deals on laptops, tablets and cell phones," 5 Aug. 2019 After deducting 35% in taxes, your paycheck would get $6500 a year fatter. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Private Insurance Can’t Survive Under Kamala Harris’ Healthcare Plan. Here’s Why," 1 Aug. 2019 Most recently, the company faced allegations of illegally repatriating $8.1 billion in profits and owing $2 billion in taxes. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigeria’s largest mobile operator is about to become a bank," 1 Aug. 2019 Sanders offered a more forceful response when pressed by CNN's Jake Tapper to explicitly say whether his proposal would require middle class Americans to pay more in taxes. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Progressives demur on whether their health care plans involve a middle-class tax hike," 30 July 2019 Hickenlooper agreed with Warren that the wealthy should pay more in taxes, including him. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The centrists went after the progressives in night one of the second primary debate," 30 July 2019 The paradox is that Grande-Synthe’s green policies depend on a declining industry from which the town draws most of its financial resources, especially in business taxes. New York Times, "A French Town’s Green Policies Aim to Win Over the Working Class," 25 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Computers, headphones and tablets will be some of the tax-free technology, but products such as computers designed for recreation, game controllers and digital cameras will still be taxed. Austin Fuller,, "Tax-free holiday starts Friday. On no-tax list: School supplies, computers and ... lingerie?," 29 July 2019 These bilateral agreements encourage investment by ensuring investors from one country operate in another without being taxed twice on the same income. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "How an idyllic African island became a tax haven for some of the world’s biggest corporations," 23 July 2019 The Reelses knew that if condos or a marina were built on the waterfront the remaining 50 acres of Silver Dollar Road could be taxed not as small homes on swampy fields but as a high-end resort. Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, "The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It.," 15 July 2019 For example, at 10.1 pounds per horsepower, the Supra outaccelerates the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE, which has 120 more horsepower, each of which is only taxed with 8.2 pounds. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "We Test the 2020 Toyota Supra: Zero to 60 in 3.8 Seconds," 14 May 2019 Julia Nash, who directed the documentary, is the daughter of Jim Nash, who founded Wax Trax! in the mid-70s with his lover, Dannie Flesher, so her powers of objectivity must be taxed even more than mine. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Chicago’s Wax Trax! Records portrayed as a romance etched in vinyl in new documentary," 4 June 2018 Changes to the way all U.S. businesses are taxed have already meant more take-home pay and better opportunities for workers. Naperville Sun, "Letters to the Editor," 1 June 2018 The place of infinite lab equipment, and affordable sneakers, and iPhones that don't come heavily taxed. Daniel Riley, GQ, "The Great High School Impostor," 1 May 2018 Merchant corridors have for years created commercial benefit districts, or CBDs — special zones where primarily commercial property owners elect to tax themselves a little extra to pay for additional services. Dominic Fracassa,, "Downtown SF businesses to tax themselves to pay for clean streets, homeless outreach," 17 July 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

10 Aug 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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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