tonnage

noun

ton·​nage ˈtə-nij How to pronounce tonnage (audio)
1
a
: the cubical content of a merchant ship in units of 100 cubic feet
b
: the displacement of a warship
2
a
: 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
4
a
: 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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Certain vessels, including those exceeding 800 net tonnage or carrying potentially dangerous cargoes, must be towed by tugboats, with canal pilots assisting in the passage. Dimitris Sideridis, CNN, 11 Nov. 2022 The state’s record-breaking 2020 fire season spewed almost twice the tonnage of greenhouse gases as the total amount of reductions made since 2003. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2022 The depth of ships’ drafts, or the distance between the waterline and the deepest point of the boat, are now limited to 41 feet upriver of the port of Baton Rouge, the nation’s eighth-largest by tonnage, the U.S. Coast Guard said late Friday. Kim Chipman Bloomberg News (tns), al, 23 Oct. 2022 Through August of this year, the percentage is down to 38% by value and 62% by tonnage. Ken Roberts, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2022 Total tonnage, or the total weight of ships of the Chinese Navy, would increase from today’s 1.3 million tons to approximately two million tons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 6 Sep. 2022 As a result, tonnage tax systems were often a good deal for governments. Nicolas Rivero, Quartz, 23 Aug. 2022 What haunts the household in this classic of 19th century realism isn’t so much the spirit of the dead, dissolute patriarch, Captain Alving, as the tonnage of family secrets buried in the bad faith and moribund morality of a shameful past. Charles Mcnulty, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2022 White officers pitted different divisions against each other, pushing the sailors to race to load the most tonnage during their shifts. Matthew F. Delmont, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near tonnage

Cite this Entry

“Tonnage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tonnage. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

tonnage

noun

ton·​nage ˈtən-ij How to pronounce tonnage (audio)
1
: a tax on ships based on tons carried
2
: ships in terms of the total number of tons that are or can be carried
3
: total weight in tons shipped, carried, or mined

More from Merriam-Webster on tonnage

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