General English


  • noun money taken by the government or by an official body to pay for government services
  • noun an amount of money charged by government as part of a person’s income or on goods bought


  • verb to take money from the income of an individual or company, or when a good or service is used or bought, to pay for government services


  • verb to have the costs of a legal action assessed by the court
  • verb to assess the bill presented by a parliamentary agent


  • verb to make someone pay a tax or to put a tax on something


  • verb to mug or steal from someone, leaving them with a proportion of their money. A miscreants’ jargon term for partial robbery, recorded among street gangs in London and Liverpool since the late 1970s.

Origin & History of “tax”

Tax originally denoted ‘assess an amount to be levied’; the notion of ‘imposing such a levy’ is a secondary development. The word comes via Old French taxer from Latin taxāre ‘touch, assess, appraise’, a derivative of tangere ‘touch’ (source of English contact, tangible, etc). From taxāre was derived the medieval Latin noun taxa ‘tax, piece of work imposed’, which passed into English via Anglo-Norman tasque as task (13th c.).