Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A light brown to brownish orange.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of a light brown to brownish orange colour
  • n. A light brown to brownish orange colour

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of a dull yellowish brown color, like things tanned, or persons who are sunburnt.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of a dark- or dull-yellowish color; tan-colored; fawn-colored; buff. In actual use the word notes many shades of color, from pale ocher to swarthy brown, and distinctively qualifies the names of various animals. The lion is of about an average tawny color.
  • n. Tawny color.
  • n. The bullfinch, Pyrrhula vulgaris: so called from the coloration of the female. See tonnihood, and cut under bullfinch.
  • n. In heraldry, same as tenné.
  • To make tawny; tan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of a light brown to brownish orange color; the color of tanned leather

Etymologies

Middle English, from Anglo-Norman taune, variant of Old French tane, from past participle of taner, to tan; see tan1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman tauné, from Old French tané, past participle of taner ("to tan"), from tan 'tanbark, tawny color', from Gaulish tanno 'holm oak' (compare Breton tann, Old Irish caerthann 'rowan'), from Indo-European *dhenh-; akin to German Tann 'woods', Tanne 'fir', Hittite tanau 'fir', Avestan thanwarə (g. thanwanō) 'bow', Sanskrit dhánus (g. dhánvanus) 'bow', Latin femur (g. feminis) 'thigh', possibly Greek thámnos 'thicket'. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He was called tawny because from his frequent walks in the blaze of the sun his face had become much sun-burnt.

    Wild Wales : Its People, Language and Scenery

  • Two are "tawny" and two are grey and white, like their ma.

    MI, 10 Cent Refund

  • Some Negro slaves were brought to Europe by the Spaniards in the fourteenth century, and a small trade was continued by the Portuguese, who conquered territory from the "tawny" Moors of North Africa in the early fifteenth century.

    The Negro

  • From the shoulder swung a short green furred cloak, somewhat like that of a Hussar, the lining of which gleamed every now and then with a kind of tawny crimson.

    The Napoleon of Notting Hill

  • These "tawny" colored inks I estimate were products obtained from the "thorn" trees spoken of by the monk Theophilus.

    Forty Centuries of Ink

  • Branwell was rather a handsome boy, with "tawny" hair, to use Miss

    Life of Charlotte Brontë — Volume 1

  • I had hoped to see a few forest butterflies such as tawny, hackberry emperors, red admirals, or even goatweed leafwings, along the Loop Trail, but no such luck.

    Museum Blogs

  • One-eighth and one-sixteenth Hawaiian were they, which meant that seven-eighths or fifteen-sixteenths white blood informed that skin yet failed to obliterate the modicum of golden tawny brown of Polynesia.

    ON THE MAKALOA MAT

  • Each year, dozens of reports come in from people who believe they have seen large, tawny colored cats in states where no such animals are officially documented.

    David Mizejewski: Wild Cougar Confirmed in Connecticut

  • I remember being surprised by her tawny golden eyes; at the way she held my gaze – like a challenge – but that was not the moment.

    Duet « A Fly in Amber

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