- Equivalent in meaning or effect; amounting to the same thing in practical terms, even if being technically distinct.
- It's tantamount to fraud.
- In this view, disagreement and treason are tantamount.
- 1853, “French Invasion of Ireland, and Second Rebellion”, in Autobiographic Sketches (De Quincey’s Works; I), London: James Hogg & Sons, →OCLC, page 270:
- Every moment might bring the British cruisers in sight,—two important expeditions had already been baffled in that way,—and the absolute certainty, known to all parties alike, that delay, under these circumstances, was tantamount to ruin; […]
- 1981, Del Martin, Battered Wives, page 90:
- […] expecting the woman to take her attacker into physical custody is tantamount to preventing the arrest. If she could handle him, she probably would not need to call the police in the first place.
- 2003 March 3, Philip Gourevitch, “The Optimist”, in The New Yorker:
- In Bosnia, as in Rwanda, however, passive neutrality was tantamount to complicity with the perpetrators of “ethnic cleansing” and mass murder.
- 2022 March 16, Max Fisher, “As Russia Digs In, What’s the Risk of Nuclear War? ‘It’s Not Zero.’”, in The New York Times, →ISSN:
- Russia has said that it considers the weapons and other increased military aid that Western governments are sending to Ukraine tantamount to war, and has implied that it might strike NATO convoys.
Usage notes edit
- Used almost exclusively in the phrase tantamount to.
equivalent in meaning or effect
- (obsolete) To amount to as much; to be equivalent.
- a. 1657, Jeremy Taylor, “Of the Sacred Order and Offices of Episcopacy, By Divine Institution, Apostolical Tradition, and Catholick Practice”, in Συμβολον Ἠθικο-Πολεμικον: or a Collection of Polemical and Moral Discourses, R. Royston, page 126:
- […] and yet this will not tant’amount to an immediate Divine inſtitution for Deacons, and how can it then for Presbyters ?
tantamount (plural tantamounts)
- (obsolete) Something which has the same value or amount (as something else). (attributive use passing into adjective, below)
- 1977, Last Essays of Maurice Hewlett, page 42:
- For end thereof, not despondency but madness : for when Cossey understood that Hobday had called his wife a tantamount, he waited for him outside, and gave him what he called a pair of clippers over the ear.