Tacks vs. Tax

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Tacks and tax are two words that are pronounced in the same fashion but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of tacks and tax, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Tacks is the plural form of the word tack, which is a small nail with a broad head. Tack may also mean a pin used to keep a tie man’s tie in place, a long basting stitch or a course of action. Tacks is also the present tense of the verb to tack, meaning to affix something by the use of a tack, to make a long basting stitch or to add something on to something that already exists. Related words are tacked and tacking. The word tack is derived from the French word taque which means nail or pin.

A tax is a compulsory payment or fee levied by a government. Tax is also used figuratively to mean a heavy burden imposed upon someone. The word tax is also used as a verb to mean to levy a compulsory payment or to impose an undue burden upon someone, related words are taxes, taxed, taxing. The word tax is derived from the Latin word taxare.


Dogs have been left with bleeding paws and toddlers with thumb tacks lodged in their shoes after ‘disgraceful’ vandals scattered the sharp objects laced with dog food in a Queensland park. (The Daily Mail)

Harter said his office’s hardline stance on crime is exemplified by a push for habitual criminal status for offenders with multiple previous felony convictions, which often tacks on years to prison sentences. (The Greensburg Daily News)

When campaigning for property tax hikes for schools, boosters widely pledge to exempt older property owners from paying the taxes. (The Mercury News)