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[taks] /tæks/
a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.
a burdensome charge, obligation, duty, or demand.
verb (used with object)
  1. to demand a tax from (a person, business, etc.).
  2. to demand a tax in consideration of the possession or occurrence of (income, goods, sales, etc.), usually in proportion to the value of money involved.
to lay a burden on; make serious demands on:
to tax one's resources.
to take to task; censure; reprove; accuse:
to tax one with laziness.
Informal. to charge:
What did he tax you for that?
Archaic. to estimate or determine the amount or value of.
verb (used without object)
to levy taxes.
Origin of tax
1250-1300; (v.) Middle English taxen < Medieval Latin taxāre to tax, appraise, Latin: to appraise, handle, frequentative of tangere to touch; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related forms
taxer, noun
taxingly, adverb
taxless, adjective
taxlessly, adverb
taxlessness, noun
antitax, adjective
nontax, noun, adjective
nontaxer, noun
protax, adjective
retax, verb (used with object)
self-taxed, adjective
subtaxer, noun
undertaxed, adjective
untax, verb (used with object)
well-taxed, adjective
Can be confused
tacks, tax.
1. duty, impost, levy. 4. strain, tire, stretch.


variant of taxo- before a vowel:
taxeme. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tax
  • These will also reduce your taxable income because this is taken out before you pay tax on your salary.
  • There can be a combination of income, capital gain, and estate tax savings.
  • Of course, when it comes time to collect, the president will be required to pay income tax.
  • With family income shrinking, and tax revenues dwindling, choices had to be made.
  • We should also avoid further gutting the government's revenues with more rounds of tax cuts.
  • Is it time to reawaken this industrial giant, to get government back within its means, and to lighten our punitive tax burden.
  • Grumblers thought of yet another government intrusion into the lives of honest, tax-paying citizens.
  • For example, by taxing work the income tax induces people to remain unemployed.
  • The tax system is unfair and inefficient, and fails to generate enough revenue to cover government expenditures.
  • Refundable tax credits can take your burden past zero, turning your tax bill into a tax payment.
British Dictionary definitions for tax


a compulsory financial contribution imposed by a government to raise revenue, levied on the income or property of persons or organizations, on the production costs or sales prices of goods and services, etc
a heavy demand on something; strain: a tax on our resources
verb (transitive)
to levy a tax on (persons, companies, etc, or their incomes, etc)
to make heavy demands on; strain: to tax one's intellect
to accuse, charge, or blame: he was taxed with the crime
to determine (the amount legally chargeable or allowable to a party to a legal action), as by examining the solicitor's bill of costs: to tax costs
(slang) to steal
Derived Forms
taxer, noun
taxless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French taxer, from Latin taxāre to appraise, from tangere to touch
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 tax

c.1300, "impose a tax on," from Old French taxer "impose a tax" (13c.), from Latin taxare "evaluate, estimate, assess, handle," also "censure, charge," probably a frequentative form of tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Sense of "burden, put a strain on" first recorded 1670s; that of "censure, reprove" is from 1560s. Its use in Luke ii for Greek apographein "to enter on a list, enroll" is due to Tyndale. Related: Taxed; taxing.


early 14c., "obligatory contribution levied by a sovereign or government," from Anglo-French tax, Old French taxe, and directly from Medieval Latin taxa, from Latin taxare (see tax (v.)). Related: taxes. Tax shelter is attested from 1961.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with tax


In addition to the idiom beginning with tax also see: death and taxes
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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