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

  • transitive v. To convert (hide) into leather, as by treating with tannin.
  • transitive v. To make brown by exposure to the sun.
  • transitive v. Informal To thrash; beat.
  • intransitive v. To become brown or tawny from exposure to sun.
  • n. A light or moderate yellowish brown to brownish orange.
  • n. The brown color that sun rays impart to the skin.
  • n. Tanbark.
  • n. Tannin.
  • n. A solution derived from tannin.
  • adj. Light or moderate yellowish-brown to brownish-orange.
  • adj. Having a suntan.
  • adj. Used in or relating to tanning.
  • abbr. Mathematics tangent

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A yellowish-brown colour.
  • n. A darkening of the skin resulting from exposure to sunlight or similar light sources.
  • n. The bark of an oak or other tree from which tannic acid is obtained.
  • adj. Of a yellowish-brown.
  • adj. Having dark skin as a result of exposure to the sun.
  • v. To change to a tan colour due to exposure to the sun.
  • v. To spank or beat.
  • n. A symbol of the trigonometric function tangent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of the color of tan; yellowish-brown.
  • n. See picul.
  • n. The bark of the oak, and some other trees, bruised and broken by a mill, for tanning hides; -- so called both before and after it has been used. Called also tan bark.
  • n. A yellowish-brown color, like that of tan.
  • n. A brown color imparted to the skin by exposure to the sun.
  • intransitive v. To get or become tanned.
  • transitive v. To convert (the skin of an animal) into leather, as by usual process of steeping it in an infusion of oak or some other bark, whereby it is impregnated with tannin, or tannic acid (which exists in several species of bark), and is thus rendered firm, durable, and in some degree impervious to water.
  • transitive v. To make brown; to imbrown, as by exposure to the rays of the sun.
  • transitive v. To thrash or beat; to flog; to switch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To prepare, as skins of animals, by soaking in some liquid containing tannic acid, which is generally obtained from the bark of some tree, oak-bark being commonly thought to be the best.
  • By extension, to convert into leather by other means, as by the use of mineral salts (as those of iron and chromium), and even of oil or fat, as in the case of buckskin, chamois, and the like. See leather, taw, 2.
  • To make brown; embrown by exposure to the rays of the sun.
  • To deprive of the freshness of youth; impair the freshness and beauty of.
  • To beat; flog; thrash.
  • In the manufacture of so-called artificial marble, or an imitation of marble made from a mixture of gelatin and gum, to render (cast slabs of the mixture) hard and insoluble by steeping in a suitable preparation. See tannage, 3.
  • To treat with some hardening process as a preservation from rot, as fish-nets.
  • To be or become tanned: as, the leather tans easily.
  • To become tan-colored or tawny: as, the face tans in the sun.
  • n. The bark of the oak, willow, chestnut, larch, hemlock, spruce, and other trees abounding in tannin, bruised and broken by a mill, and used for tanning hides.
  • n. A yellowish-brown color, like that of tan: as, gloves of gray or tan.
  • n. An embrowning of the skin by exposure to the sun.
  • Of the color of tan, or of a color approaching that of tan; yellowish-brown.
  • n. The term is often used to mean spent bark which has served for the manufacture of leather and is spread over streets to deaden the sound of vehicles, or over the floor of a riding-school or circus to diminish the danger of falls, or applied to clay land as a loosening material. It is also commonly used as fuel in tanneries.
  • n. A Chinese unit of weight, a picul, equal to 133⅛ pounds avoirdupois.
  • n. A Japanese measure of surface, equal to .245 of an acre.
  • n. A twig, or small switch.
  • n. An obsolete Middle English contraction of taken, old infinitive or past participle of take.
  • n. A Middle English contraction of to an.
  • n. Same as fan-tan.
  • n. An abbreviation of tangent.

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

  • adj. of a light yellowish-brown color
  • v. treat skins and hides with tannic acid so as to convert them into leather
  • n. a browning of the skin resulting from exposure to the rays of the sun
  • v. get a tan, from wind or sun
  • n. ratio of the opposite to the adjacent side of a right-angled triangle
  • n. a light brown the color of topaz


Middle English tannen, from Old English *tannian, from Medieval Latin tannāre, from tannum, tanbark, probably of Celtic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French tan 'tanbark', from Gaulish tanno 'live oak' (compare Breton tann 'red oak', Old Cornish tannen), from Proto-Indo-European *dhonu 'fir' (compare Hittite tanau 'fir', Latin femur, gen. feminis 'thigh', German Tann 'woods', Tanne 'fir', Albanian thanë ("cranberry bush"), Ancient Greek thámnos 'thicket', Avestan θanwarə, gen. θanwanō 'bow', Sanskrit dhánus, gen. dhánvanus 'bow'). Verb from Middle English tannen, from late Old English tannian 'to tan a hide', from Anglo-Norman tanner, from tan. (Wiktionary)
From a Brythonic language; influenced in form by yan ("one") in the same series. (Wiktionary)



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