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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.
2. A tax or assessment of one tenth.
a. A tenth part.
b. A very small part.
v. tithed, tith·ing, tithes
1. To pay (a portion of one's income) as a tithe.
2. To levy a tithe on.
To pay a tithe.

[Middle English, tithe consisting of a tenth part of one's goods or income, from Old English tēotha, tenth, tithe; see dekm̥ in Indo-European roots.]

tith′a·ble (tī′thə-bəl) adj.
tith′er n.
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. The n 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 or seventh.


1. (Ecclesiastical Terms) (until 1936) liable to pay tithes
2. (Ecclesiastical Terms) (of property, etc) subject to the payment of tithes
References in periodicals archive ?
295) The sums were generally modest: between thirty and sixty pounds of tobacco per tithable per year.
The survey results indicate a fair amount of consensus on what items belong in the tithable income base.
On 11 June 1782, the vestry "unanimously imply'd and continued" him as minister, and ordered the collector to receive five pounds of tobacco per tithable from the subscribers for Price's "services for the Last half year.