a. A portion of one's annual income contributed voluntarily or due as a tax, especially a contribution of one tenth of one's income for the support of the clergy or church.
b. The institution or obligation of paying tithes.
- A tax or assessment of one tenth.
a. A tenth part.
b. A very small part.
verbtithed, tith·ing, tithes
- To pay (a portion of one's income) as a tithe.
- To levy a tithe on.
To pay a tithe.
Origin of tithe
Middle English tithe consisting of a tenth part of one's goods or income from
Old English tēotha tenth, tithe
; see dek&mlowring;
in Indo-European roots.
Related Forms:Word History:
A tithe is a tenth, etymologically speaking; in fact, tithe
is the old ordinal numeral in English. Sound changes in the prehistory of English are responsible for its looking so different from the word ten. Tithe
goes back to a prehistoric West Germanic form *tehuntha-,
formed from the cardinal numeral *tehun,
“ten,” and the same ordinal suffix that survives in Modern English as -th.
disappeared before the th
in the West Germanic dialect area that gave rise to English, and eventually yielded the Old English form tēothe,
“tenth,” still not too different from the cardinal numeral tīen.
But over time, as the former became tithe
and the latter ten,
and as tithe
developed the specialized meaning “a tenth part paid as a tax,” it grew harder to perceive a relationship between the two. The result was that speakers of English created a new word for the ordinal, tenth,
built with the cardinal numeral ten
on the pattern of the other regularly formed ordinal numerals like sixth
- (archaic) A tenth.
- The tenth part of the increase arising from the profits of land and stock, allotted to the clergy for their support, as in England, or devoted to religious or charitable uses. Almost all the tithes of England and Wales are commuted by law into rent charges. Concept originates in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).
- A contribution to one's religious community or congregation of worship.
- A small part or proportion.
- (archaic) Tenth.
(third-person singular simple present tithes, present participle tithing, simple past and past participle tithed)
- To collect a tithe.
- (intransitive) To pay a tithe.
- To levy a tenth part on; to tax to the amount of a tenth.
Old English tÄ“oÃ¾a (Old English underwent the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law, which resulted in the elimination of the nasal consonant from Germanic *tehunÃ¾-). Compare Icelandic tÃund.