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From Middle French surcharge, from Old French. Surface etymology is sur- +‎ charge. Doublet of supercharge.


  • (file)


surcharge (plural surcharges)

  1. An addition of extra charge on the agreed or stated price.
    Our airline tickets cost twenty dollars more than we expected because we had to pay a fuel surcharge.
  2. An excessive price charged e.g. to an unsuspecting customer.
  3. (philately) An overprint on a stamp that alters (usually raises) the original nominal value of the stamp; used especially in times of hyperinflation.
  4. (art) A painting in lighter enamel over a darker one that serves as the ground.
  5. (law) A charge that has been omitted from an account as payment of a credit to the charged party.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burrill to this entry?)
  6. (law) A penalty for failure to exercise common prudence and skill in the performance of a fiduciary's duties.
  7. (obsolete) An excessive load or burden.
    • Francis Bacon
      A numerous nobility causeth poverty and inconvenience in a state, for it is surcharge of expense.
  8. (law, obsolete) The putting, by a commoner, of more animals on the common than he is entitled to.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit


surcharge (third-person singular simple present surcharges, present participle surcharging, simple past and past participle surcharged)

  1. To apply a surcharge.
  2. To overload; to overburden.
    to surcharge an animal or a ship; to surcharge a cannon
    • 1675, John Dryden, Aureng-zebe:
      Your head reclined, as hiding grief from view, / Droops like a rose surcharged with morning dew.
    • 1820, Charles Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer, volume 1, page 150:
      The threat was soon fulfilled; the evening came on, prematurely darkened by clouds that seemed surcharged with a deluge.
  3. (law) To overstock; especially, to put more cattle into (e.g. a common) than one has a right to do, or more than the herbage will sustain.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Blackstone to this entry?)
  4. To show an omission in (an account) for which credit ought to have been given.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Daniel to this entry?)