from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A contribution for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses within the domain of that government.
  • n. A fee or dues levied on the members of an organization to meet its expenses.
  • n. A burdensome or excessive demand; a strain.
  • transitive v. To place a tax on (income, property, or goods).
  • transitive v. To exact a tax from.
  • transitive v. Law To assess (court costs, for example).
  • transitive v. To make difficult or excessive demands upon: a boss who taxed everyone's patience.
  • transitive v. To make a charge against; accuse: He was taxed with failure to appear on the day appointed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Money paid to the government other than for transaction-specific goods and services.
  • n. A burdensome demand.
  • v. To impose and collect a tax from (a person).
  • v. To impose and collect a tax on (something).
  • v. To make excessive demands on.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A charge, especially a pecuniary burden which is imposed by authority.
  • n. A charge or burden laid upon persons or property for the support of a government.
  • n. Especially, the sum laid upon specific things, as upon polls, lands, houses, income, etc..
  • n. A sum imposed or levied upon the members of a society to defray its expenses.
  • n. A task exacted from one who is under control; a contribution or service, the rendering of which is imposed upon a subject.
  • n. A disagreeable or burdensome duty or charge.
  • n. Charge; censure.
  • n. A lesson to be learned; a task.
  • transitive v. To subject to the payment of a tax or taxes; to impose a tax upon; to lay a burden upon; especially, to exact money from for the support of government.
  • transitive v. To assess, fix, or determine judicially, the amount of.
  • transitive v. To charge; to accuse; also, to censure; -- often followed by with, rarely by of before an indirect object.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lay a burden or burdens on; make demands upon; put to a certain strain; task: as, to tax one's memory.
  • To subject to the payment of taxes; impose a tax on; levy money or other contributions from, as from subjects or citizens, to meet the expenses of government: as, to tax land, commodities, or income; to tax a people.
  • In the New Testament, to register (persons and their property) for the purpose of imposing tribute.
  • In law, to examine and allow or disallow items of charge for costs, fees, or disbursements: as, the court taxes bills of cost.
  • To accuse; charge; take to task: with of or (as now commonly) with before the thing charged.
  • To take to task; censure; blame.
  • To indulge in ridicule or satire.
  • n. Same as collateral-inheritance tax. See collateral and death-duty.
  • n. A disagreeable or burdensome duty or charge; an exaction; a requisition; an oppressive demand; strain; burden; task.
  • n. An enforced proportional contribution levied on persons, property, or income, either by the authority of the state for the support of the government, and for all its public or governmental needs, or
  • n. by local authority, for general municipal purposes.
  • n. Charge; censure.
  • n. A lesson to be learned; a task.
  • n. Assessment is either the valuation of property for the purpose of its taxation;
  • n. the imposing of the tax; or
  • n. a charge on specific real property of a share of the expense of a local improvement specially benefiting that property. Tribute views the tax as laid not for the public good, but arbitrarily for the benefit of the one levying it, especially a conqueror: as, “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.” Each of these words had its older, peculiar, or figurative uses. See definitions of the words, and also of subsidy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. set or determine the amount of (a payment such as a fine)
  • v. use to the limit
  • v. make a charge against or accuse
  • n. charge against a citizen's person or property or activity for the support of government
  • v. levy a tax on


Middle English, from taxen, to tax, from Old French taxer, from Medieval Latin taxāre, from Latin, to touch, reproach, reckon, frequentative of tangere, to touch; see tag- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman taxer ("to impose a tax"), from Latin taxāre, present active infinitive of taxō ("I handle”, “I censure”, “I appraise”, “I compute"). (Wiktionary)


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  • DI to the rescue class Order Breaks existing client code def tax (calculator) calculator. calculate @subtotal, @us_state end end describe Order, \ "calculating tax\" do it

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  • Free DI to the rescue class Order Clients continue to def tax (calculator = TaxCalculator) work unchanged calculator. calculate @subtotal, @us_state end end describe Order, \ "calculating tax\" do it \ "should add tax onto the total\" do fake_calculator = mock ( 'calculator') fake_calculator. should_receive (: calculate). with (42, \ "CA\"). and_return 3.26 o = Order. new

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  • Ruby seams alias_method_chain method_missing send / eval class Order def initialize (us_state) @us_state = us_state @subtotal = 0 end def add_item (item, quantity) @subtotal + = (item. cost * quantity) end def tax TaxCalculator. calculate @subtotal, @us_state end end describe Order, \ "calculating tax\" do it

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  • And we implore the Conservative body, with whom we have so long acted, to consider whether it would not be far wiser to unite their strength to convince the country of the justice and expedience of some, at least, of these changes, than to follow the example of the Free Traders in urging the repeal of the malt tax, which could only be followed, as no addition to the indirect taxes is to be thought of, by a vast increase of the _income tax_, two-thirds of which would fall on the land itself.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 61, No. 376, February, 1847


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  • True - but one can have too much of a good thing...

    October 9, 2008

  • 'No one said it better than Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.�?'
    —Thomas L. Friedman, seen in the New York Times, here.

    October 9, 2008