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[tuhn-ij] /ˈtʌn ɪdʒ/
the capacity of a merchant vessel, expressed either in units of weight, as deadweight tons, or of volume, as gross tons.
ships collectively considered with reference to their carrying capacity or together with their cargoes.
a duty on ships or boats at so much per ton of cargo or freight, or according to the capacity in tons.
Also, tunnage.
Origin of tonnage
1375-1425; late Middle English: duty < Old French. See ton1, -age Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tonnage
  • The gross tonnage figure, however, is a fair measure of the usable internal volume of the ship.
  • The public imagines a nation's impact on the sea in terms of the raw tonnage of fish it catches.
  • Not until the middle of the century did the tonnage of steamships upon the sea begin to overhaul that of sailing ships.
  • The tonnage bounties given to the white-herring and whale-fisheries may, perhaps, be considered as somewhat of this nature.
  • The price of old liners depend on the tonnage, the market for steel, and the furnishings.
  • Its weeping tonnage can speak for all kinds of grief.
  • The fantasies are shaped not only by the comforts of the cars but by their sheer tonnage as well.
  • The grade-tonnage models are presented in graphical format to make it easy to compare deposit types and to display the data.
British Dictionary definitions for tonnage


the capacity of a merchant ship expressed in tons, for which purpose a ton is considered as 40 cubic feet of freight or 100 cubic feet of bulk cargo, unless such an amount would weigh more than 2000 pounds in which case the actual weight is used
the weight of the cargo of a merchant ship
the total amount of shipping of a port or nation, estimated by the capacity of its ships
a duty on ships based either on their capacity or their register tonnage
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from tonne barrel
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 tonnage

early 15c., from ton + -age. Originally was "tax or duty on wine imported in tuns."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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