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

  • n. The bark of various trees used as a source of tannin.
  • n. Shredded bark from which the tannin has been extracted, used to cover circus arenas, racetracks, and other surfaces.
  • n. See tan oak.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The bark of the oak (or other trees) used as a source of tannin
  • n. The spent bark used as a ground covering

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

  • n. bark rich in tannin; bruised and cut in pieces to use for tanning; spent tanbark used as a ground covering


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • “Paul Binder, the 66-year-old founder, artistic director and ringmaster of the Big Apple Circus, will be stepping away from the tanbark next year after three decades as boss man of the little top.�?

    The New York Times, Goodbye Greasepaint: Veteran Showman Exits the Tent, by Glenn Collins, October 21, 2008

    October 22, 2008