Definition of tax in English:

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Pronunciation: /taks/


1A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.
Example sentences
  • It would have replaced the corporate income tax with a tax on the net return to capital for all businesses.
  • All local governments in Kenya have taxing authority, including the right to levy a tax on property.
  • Thus a tax on rent may represent a violation of justice while a tax on other incomes does not.
duty, tariff, excise, customs, dues;
levy, toll, impost, tithe, charge, fee
2 [in singular] A strain or heavy demand: a heavy tax on the reader’s attention
More example sentences
  • The only tax on the reader's mind is to remember as many facts as possible.
burden, load, weight, demand, strain, pressure, stress, drain, imposition


[with object]
1Impose a tax on (someone or something): hardware and software is taxed at 7.5 percent
More example sentences
  • Otherwise the profits are taxed at the full rate.
  • This can represent a significant tax saving, compared with an ordinary share option scheme where the option is generally exempt, but the gain is taxed at income tax rates.
  • Profits from unincorporated businesses are taxed at 15 percent.
charge (duty on), tithe
formal mulct
2Make heavy demands on (someone’s powers or resources): she knew that the ordeal to come would tax all her strength
More example sentences
  • The need to properly categorize, inventory and secure the massive number of garments and shoes must have taxed their resources and creativity.
  • And director Jasper Bagg takes on the title role with energy and commitment, though sometimes its sheer weight seems to be taxing his powers to the limit.
  • Radeschi said the community's resources have been taxed by dealing with troubled youth.
strain, stretch, overburden, overload, encumber, push too far;
overwhelm, try, wear out, exhaust, sap, drain, weary, weaken
3Confront (someone) with a fault or wrongdoing: why are you taxing me with these preposterous allegations?
More example sentences
  • Tax me with my crimes!
4 Law Examine and assess (the costs of a case).
Example sentences
  • Where the outcome of the Legal Proceedings is not a Success the Insurer shall have the right to have the Insured's Solicitor's bills taxed or assessed on the standard basis.
  • It was not the case for either side that I should split the issue into parts and so resolve the position, nor was it the case that I should attempt to tax or assess the costs.
  • It was decided to do this by ordering those costs to be taxed on the indemnity basis.



Example sentences
  • Conventional wisdom has socialists down as high taxers and big spenders.
  • For a Chancellor uniquely sensitive to barbs about his reputation as a stealth taxer, this is not an academic point.
  • But isn't it in the interest of both the taxers and the taxed (you and me) to conclude longer-term deals, achieving some durability in our tax system?


Middle English (also in the sense 'estimate or determine the amount of a penalty or damages', surviving sense 4 of the verb): from Old French taxer, from Latin taxare 'to censure, charge, compute', perhaps from Greek tassein 'fix'.

  • Tax and task—the earliest sense of which was to impose a tax on—both go back to Latin taxare ‘to censure, charge, compute’. Task in the general sense ‘something that has to be done’ is found from the late 16th century.

Words that rhyme with tax

axe (US ax), Backs, Bax, fax, flax, lax, max, pax, Sachs, sax, saxe, wax

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tax

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