1. A gift, payment, declaration, or other acknowledgment of gratitude, respect, or admiration: put up a plaque as a tribute to his generosity.
2. Evidence attesting to some praiseworthy quality or characteristic: Winning the scholarship was a tribute to her hard work.
a. A payment in money or other valuables made by one ruler or nation to another in acknowledgment of submission or as the price of protection or security.
b. A tax imposed for such payment.
4. Any payment exacted for protection.
a. A payment or tax given by a feudal vassal to an overlord.
b. The obligation to make such a payment.
[Middle English tribut, from Old French, from Latin tribūtum, from neuter past participle of tribuere, to pay, distribute, from tribus, tribe; see TRIBE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.