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[tar-if] /ˈtær ɪf/
an official list or table showing the duties or customs imposed by a government on imports or exports.
the schedule or system of duties so imposed.
any duty or rate of duty in such a list or schedule.
any table of charges, as of a railroad, bus line, etc.
bill; cost; charge.
verb (used with object)
to subject to a tariff.
to put a valuation on according to a tariff.
Origin of tariff
1585-95; earlier tariffa < Italian < Arabic taʿrīfah, derivative of ʿarrafa to make known
Related forms
tariffless, adjective
pretariff, noun, adjective
protariff, adjective
retariff, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tariff
  • For any country that doesn't go along with this effort, a tariff will be slapped on their imports to even out the playing field.
  • Extra charges are shown on a tariff card in the taxi.
  • The system worked pretty well even at a small scale, and a feed-in tariff set the financing with modest profit.
  • Federal revenues grew rapidly from sales of western lands and the tariff.
  • The question is, how quickly will each country agree to go to zero on the tariff charge of the products of the other groups.
  • But switching from non-tariff barriers to tariffs can go only so far to promote agricultural trade.
  • The lower the price of a module, the more attractive a feed-in tariff looks.
  • The sad thing about non-tariff barriers is the government does not collective revenue from this practice.
  • Lowering tariff walls round rich countries would increase poor farmers' exports.
  • Executives complain, though, that red tape and other non-tariff barriers are a far bigger hurdle.
British Dictionary definitions for tariff


  1. a tax levied by a government on imports or occasionally exports for purposes of protection, support of the balance of payments, or the raising of revenue
  2. a system or list of such taxes
any schedule of prices, fees, fares, etc
(mainly Brit)
  1. a method of charging for the supply of services, esp public services, such as gas and electricity: block tariff
  2. a schedule of such charges
(mainly Brit) a bill of fare with prices listed; menu
(Brit) the level of punishment imposed for a criminal offence
verb (transitive)
to set a tariff on
to set a price on according to a schedule of tariffs
Derived Forms
tariffless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Italian tariffa, from Arabic ta`rīfa to inform
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tariff

1590s, "arithmetical table," from Italian tariffa, Medieval Latin tarifa "list of prices, book of rates," from Arabic ta'rif "information, notification, inventory of fees to be paid," verbal noun from arafa "to make known." Meaning "official list of customs duties on imports or exports" is from 1590s; sense of "classified list of charges made in a business" is recorded from 1757.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tariff in Culture

tariff definition

A government tax on imports, designed either to raise revenue or to protect domestic industry from foreign competition.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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