a gift, testimonial, compliment, or the like, given as due or in acknowledgment of gratitude or esteem.
a stated sum or other valuable consideration paid by one sovereign or state to another in acknowledgment of subjugation or as the price of peace, security, protection, or the like.
a rent, tax, or the like, as that paid by a subject to a sovereign.
any exacted or enforced payment or contribution.
obligation or liability to make such payment.

1300–50; Middle English tribut < Latin tribūtum a levied payment, noun use of neuter of past participle of tribuere to assign, allot, derivative of tribus tribe

1. recognition, commendation, eulogy. 4. levy, toll, impost, duty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tribute (ˈtrɪbjuːt)
1.  a gift or statement made in acknowledgment, gratitude, or admiration
2.  a.  a payment by one ruler or state to another, usually as an acknowledgment of submission
 b.  any tax levied for such a payment
3.  (in feudal society) homage or a payment rendered by a vassal to his lord
4.  the obligation to pay tribute
[C14: from Latin tribūtum, from tribuere to grant (originally: to distribute among the tribes), from tribustribe]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., "tax paid to a ruler or master for security or protection," from L. tributum "tribute," lit. "a thing contributed or paid," noun use of tributus, neuter pp. of tribuere "to pay, assign, grant," also "allot among the tribes or to a tribe," from tribus (see tribe).
Sense of "offering, gift, token" is first recorded 1580s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Tribute definition

a tax imposed by a king on his subjects (2 Sam. 20:24; 1 Kings 4:6; Rom. 13:6). In Matt. 17:24-27 the word denotes the temple rate (the "didrachma," the "half-shekel," as rendered by the R.V.) which was required to be paid for the support of the temple by every Jew above twenty years of age (Ex. 30:12; 2 Kings 12:4; 2 Chr. 24:6, 9). It was not a civil but a religious tax. In Matt. 22:17, Mark 12:14, Luke 20:22, the word may be interpreted as denoting the capitation tax which the Romans imposed on the Jewish people. It may, however, be legitimately regarded as denoting any tax whatever imposed by a foreign power on the people of Israel. The "tribute money" shown to our Lord (Matt. 22:19) was the denarius, bearing Caesar's superscription. It was the tax paid by every Jew to the Romans. (See PENNY.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
But the entire final segment of the show was a long tribute to a deceased
Universities should also pay tribute to faculty members who are successful at
  nurturing diverse ideas and student involvement.
Only now are efforts under way to pay him fitting tribute in the city in which
  he lived and worked all his adult life.
It is a uniquely naïve tribute to mutual ministration.
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