ton·​nage | \ ˈtə-nij How to pronounce tonnage (audio) \

Definition of tonnage

1a : the cubical content of a merchant ship in units of 100 cubic feet
b : the displacement of a warship
2a : total weight in tons shipped, carried, or produced
b : impressively large amount or weight
3 : a duty formerly levied on every tun of wine imported into England
4a : a duty or impost on vessels based on cargo capacity
b : a duty on goods per ton transported
5 : ships in terms of the total number of tons registered or carried or of their carrying capacity

Examples of tonnage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Wonder of the Seas will debut with a gross tonnage of 236,857, also be 1,188 feet long, but have a 6,988-guest maximum capacity, the highest among all Oasis-class ships with 2,867 staterooms. Richard Tribou,, 31 Aug. 2021 That is why, in the two images above, the commodities listed where the Port of New Orleans ranks first nationally by tonnage are all commodities that sail. Ken Roberts, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 And with absolutely no doubt, fair or not, to some degree, the 2021 Cougars are hauling a double dose of tonnage from yesterday to today. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Aug. 2021 The best way to eliminate that tonnage is by switching over as quickly as possible to renewable energy and cleaner transportation and heating systems. New York Times, 23 June 2021 By value and tonnage, this import dwarfs all others in which Russia is the leading source. Ken Roberts, Forbes, 16 June 2021 That was a bright spot during a season severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its broad effects on the economy, which saw total tonnage moving through the Port of Duluth-Superior drop to its lowest level in more than 80 years. Brooks Johnson, Star Tribune, 20 Apr. 2021 However, as China starts building larger and more capable ships, the U.S. Navy’s tonnage advantage is eroding. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 27 Apr. 2021 Last season the Port of Duluth-Superior saw its lowest tonnage levels in more than 80 years. Brooks Johnson, Star Tribune, 24 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tonnage.' 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 tonnage

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for tonnage

in sense 3, from Middle English, from Anglo-French, from tonne tun; in other senses, from ton entry 1 — more at tunnel

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Time Traveler for tonnage

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The first known use of tonnage was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near tonnage



tonnage and poundage

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tonnage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for tonnage



English Language Learners Definition of tonnage

: the size of a ship or the total weight that it carries in tons
: the total weight or amount of something in tons


ton·​nage | \ ˈtə-nij How to pronounce tonnage (audio) \

Kids Definition of tonnage

1 : ships in terms of the total number of tons that are or can be carried
2 : total weight in tons shipped, carried, or mined

More from Merriam-Webster on tonnage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tonnage Encyclopedia article about tonnage


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