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

If residents can eliminate textiles from the municipal waste stream, the town could decrease the tonnage of waste produced, potentially reducing costs on waste disposal. Johanna Seltz,, "Avon to add separate textile recycling," 14 Aug. 2019 The trade war has curtailed grain exports from the Port of Galveston and caused an 11 percent decline in overall tonnage during the second quarter, according to data released by the port. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Port of Galveston reports increase in wind turbine cargo and cruises, decrease in grains," 6 Aug. 2019 The biggest winner this year, at least as measured by tonnage: King Kong. Michael Paulson, New York Times, "Who Won and What Happened at the 2019 Tony Awards," 9 June 2019 The five deep-draft river ports in Louisiana include the largest by tonnage in the western hemisphere, and more than 500 million tons of cargo pass through this stretch each year. Boyce Upholt, Time, "The Mississippi River Is Under Control—For Now," 9 May 2019 Its factory on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, produces a similar tonnage to that of Ynsect’s Burgundian facility. The Economist, "Beetles and flies are becoming part of the agricultural food chain," 4 July 2019 At the moment, the tonnages firms like Ynsect and AgriProtein aim to produce are still trivial compared with the multi-million-tonne market for fish feed. The Economist, "Beetles and flies are becoming part of the agricultural food chain," 4 July 2019 Precision agriculture lets farmers increase crop tonnage while using less land, water, and fertilizer. Andrew Mcafee, WIRED, "How the iPhone Helped Save the Planet," 29 June 2019 Zaldivar estimated at a recent meeting that 80% of the tonnage cleaned up by sanitation teams comes from scofflaws dumping trash on city streets rather than from homeless people in encampments. Benjamin Oreskes,, "L.A. expands cleanup teams for homeless encampments, vowing to be ‘less reactive’," 28 June 2019

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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Statistics for tonnage

Last Updated

19 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for tonnage

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

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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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tonnage

Spanish Central: Translation of tonnage Encyclopedia article about tonnage

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to shake or wave menacingly

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