Definition of tariff in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈterəf/


1A tax or duty to be paid on a particular class of imports or exports.
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.
1.1A list of taxes on imports or exports.
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.


[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

Syllabification: tar·iff

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