Definition of surcharge in US English:



  • 1An additional charge or payment.

    ‘we guarantee that no surcharges will be added to the cost of your trip’
    • ‘Again, I never bid on an item that only has Paypal payment and a hefty surcharge.’
    • ‘Plans for a £5 surcharge on speeding tickets to fund victim support services came under fire last night.’
    • ‘An additional delivery surcharge (if applicable) is shown in parentheses next to the price.’
    • ‘However, the pricing structure will remain unchanged as Barclays will not levy any surcharge.’
    • ‘All prices are fully inclusive of taxes and the insurance surcharge.’
    • ‘We use the surcharge to encourage faster payments, and it works.’
    • ‘Up to that point the company had been adding a 7 percent fuel surcharge to cover the additional costs.’
    • ‘Road tax will be abolished and the loss of revenue will be compensated for with an additional surcharge on fuel.’
    • ‘If the tax payment is still not made by 28 February, an additional surcharge of 5% on the outstanding balance is imposed.’
    • ‘However, many virtual banks reimburse customers for ATM surcharges incurred, so you can make free withdrawals almost anywhere.’
    • ‘The airlines introduced passenger fuel surcharges in May to help neutralise what were then record fuel prices.’
    • ‘I was saying though, that if you increase the Medicare surcharge, the government is able to increase rebates.’
    • ‘The abolition of any tax is invariably a good thing and the abolition of an evil surcharge on superannuation retirement income funds is by definition an excellent decision.’
    • ‘If you're caught, your insurance surcharge will be much higher.’
    • ‘The first part introduced a tax surcharge to induce high-income earners to purchase private health insurance.’
    • ‘Clients who want all organic meat and vegetables can expect to pay a surcharge.’
    • ‘Late payment surcharges will be applied in accordance with Section 3.1 of the Student Fee Regulations.’
    • ‘The reduction in dividend tax and removal of surcharge on tax are welcome measures for manufacturing industries.’
    • ‘Low-cost carriers are also about to increase surcharges.’
    • ‘If the 10 per cent surcharge is added, the effective rate will be 27.5 per cent.’
    addition, increase
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A charge made by assessors as a penalty for false returns of taxable property.
      • ‘I suggest you speak to an accountant about your tax obligations, who will also be able to point out any penalties or surcharges that you may face if you have not completed previous tax returns on this income.’
    2. 1.2 The showing of an omission in an account for which credit should have been given.
  • 2A mark printed on a postage stamp changing its value.


[with object]
  • 1Exact an additional charge or payment from.

    ‘retailers will be able to surcharge credit-card users’
    • ‘Why is it surcharging people who are forced to use the Park & Ride?’
    • ‘If the auditor finds against officers and councillors involved in the failed theme park deal, he could surcharge them for wasting tax-payers' money.’
    • ‘Empire may deny it surcharged smokers enough to cover anticipated costs.’
    • ‘Unless the councillors who precipitated this unwise move are to be surcharged, and I doubt this will be the case, the rate-payers will be expected to foot the bill for the separation.’
    • ‘Then the district auditor surcharged councillors for overspending, including ‘excessive’ wages to council employees.’
    • ‘The proposal is doubly unfair, in that the same parents who would now be surcharged have already contributed disproportionately to the university system through their taxes.’
    • ‘The fall in interest rates has masked evidence that lenders are continuing to surcharge borrowers in the Republic.’
    • ‘If businesses can surcharge, then they might be able to maneuver their customers into paying more, or they might be able to make more money off people who would otherwise use out-of-state checks.’
    • ‘If a court were to determine that the litigation was not likely to provide a benefit to the trust, the court might surcharge the trustee for all attorney fees.’
    • ‘We can't take any more cuts in profit and will have to surcharge our customers.’
    • ‘One wonders whether those who made the decision, and who have now revoked the plan, ought not to be surcharged.’
    • ‘They should give us a rebate for not needing the NHS, not surcharge us for relieving them of their responsibilities!’
  • 2Mark (a postage stamp) with a surcharge.


Late Middle English (as a verb): from Old French surcharger (see sur-, charge). The early sense of the noun (late 15th century) was ‘excessive load’.