Definition of tariff in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtarɪf/


1A tax or duty to be paid on a particular class of imports or exports: the reduction of trade barriers and import tariffs
More example sentences
  • The introduction of Value Added Tax in July 1999 enabled the government to remove tariffs and import duties.
  • Both export taxes and import tariffs are used as policy tools to regulate cotton markets.
  • Excises, tariffs, export duties, and taxes on particular goods have become relatively insignificant sources of state revenues in these advanced nations.
tax, duty, toll, excise, levy, assessment, imposition, impost, charge, rate, fee, exaction;
(tariffs) customs (duties), dues
1.1A list of import or export tariffs.
Example sentences
  • Port tariffs are essentially price lists that encompass all the services and facilities provided by a port.
  • "The tariff explicitly lists agro-machinery that enjoys duty free status, and our officers are guided by this tabulation," he said.
1.2chiefly British A list of the fixed charges made by a business, especially for use of gas, electricity, or a mobile phone.
Example sentences
  • Technology Telecom says its customers can save 20 per cent compared to BT's business tariffs and a 5 per cent discount on BT line charges.
  • Some hotels have lowered their tariffs by between 30 and 50 per cent.
  • Orange is marketing the SPV M1000 at business users, with calls and GPRS data connections billed according to the network's business tariffs.
price list, schedule, list of charges, rate
1.3 Law , British A scale of sentences and damages for crimes and injuries of different severities.
Example sentences
  • This decision by the Home Secretary meant that prisoners could spend several years more in prison than was justified by the tariff for the crime they had committed.
  • You were convicted by a jury in 1984 of murder of your common-law wife and sentenced to life imprisonment, with the tariff set at 12 years.
  • He said that existing detainees, whose tariffs had not yet expired, should make any representations that they wished to make to the Lord Chief Justice who would make recommendations to him.


[with object]
Fix the price of (something) according to a tariff: these services are tariffed by volume
More example sentences
  • Naturally, there is an 090… number attached to the competition tariffed at £1.50 per minute, but there is also a ‘play by post’ option which they appear to offer with intense reluctance.
  • On May 12, 1988 the Department of Public Service filed comments on the service, recommending that the Commission change the ANI tariff to require that one service component, Pay-Per-View (PPV) service, be tariffed rather than priced on an individual case basis.


Late 16th century (also denoting an arithmetical table): via French from Italian tariffa, based on Arabic ‘arrafa 'notify'.

  • A tariff once referred to an arithmetical table. It came via French from Italian tariffa, based on Arabic ′arrafa ‘notify’. The word came to be used for a list of customs duties, but it was not until around 1890 that the sense ‘classified list of charges’ in a hotel or other business came into common English use (although more frequent earlier in Europe and the US).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tar¦iff

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