tan·​ta·​mount | \ ˈtan-tə-ˌmau̇nt How to pronounce tantamount (audio) \

Definition of tantamount

: equivalent in value, significance, or effect a relationship tantamount to marriage

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Tantamount comes from the Anglo-French phrase tant amunter, meaning "to amount to as much." This phrase comes from the Old French tant, meaning "so much" or "as much," and amounter, meaning "to ascend" or "to add up to." When tantamount first entered English, it was used similarly to the Anglo-French phrase, as a verb meaning "to be equivalent." "His not denying tant-amounteth to the affirming of the matter," wrote clergyman Thomas Fuller in 1659, for example. There was also a noun tantamount in the 17th century, but the adjective is the only commonly used form of the term nowadays.

Examples of tantamount in a Sentence

His statement was tantamount to an admission of guilt. They see any criticism of the President as tantamount to treason.
Recent Examples on the Web During a traumatizing year in which older adults were especially at risk of a severe coronavirus infection and made up the overwhelming majority of those who died, travel was tantamount to laying your life on the line. Will Mccarthy, Travel + Leisure, 11 Oct. 2021 For those Republicans -- and Manchin -- what Schumer did in his speech was tantamount to running in front of them and spiking the ball in their face. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 8 Oct. 2021 Accessing their network is tantamount to a self-service human resources department. Patrick O'rahilly, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 To be a whistleblower and air a company’s dirty laundry is tantamount to disbelieving the pervasive techno-optimism that’s sustained the industry. Kevin T. Dugan, Fortune, 5 Oct. 2021 Over that time, so much of it has made its way around the world that YouTube’s ban is tantamount to bailing out a sinking boat. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2021 She was attacked by some members of the Black community who argued that accusing Thomas was tantamount to racial betrayal. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, 28 Sep. 2021 In other words, a weakness in steel production is tantamount to an indication of softness in China’s manufacturing and construction base. Simon Constable, Forbes, 26 Sep. 2021 Trudeau has also punched left, warning that a vote for NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his allies is tantamount to a vote for Conservatives. Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2021

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

1641, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tantamount

obsolete tantamount, noun, equivalent, from Anglo-French tant amunter to amount to as much

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Time Traveler for tantamount

Time Traveler

The first known use of tantamount was in 1641

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tantamount.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tantamount. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of tantamount

: equal to something in value, meaning, or effect


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