Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

tan1

[tan]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), tanned, tan·ning.
  1. to convert (a hide) into leather, especially by soaking or steeping in a bath prepared from tanbark or synthetically.
  2. to make brown by exposure to ultraviolet rays, as of the sun.
  3. Informal. to thrash; spank.
Show More
verb (used without object), tanned, tan·ning.
  1. to become tanned.
Show More
noun
  1. the brown color imparted to the skin by exposure to the sun or open air.
  2. yellowish brown; light brown.
  3. tanbark.
Show More
adjective, tan·ner, tan·nest.
  1. of the color of tan; yellowish-brown.
  2. used in or relating to tanning processes, materials, etc.
Show More
Idioms
  1. tan someone's hide, Informal. to beat someone soundly: She threatened to tan our hides if she found us on her property again.
Show More

Origin of tan1

before 1000; 1920–25 for def 2; Middle English tannen to make hide into leather, late Old English *tannian (in past participle getanned; cf. tanner1) < Medieval Latin tannāre, derivative of tannum oak bark, tanbark < Germanic; compare Old High German tanna oak, fir, akin to Dutch den fir
Related formstan·na·ble, adjectiveun·tanned, adjectivewell-tanned, adjective

tan2

[tan]
noun
  1. tangent(def 5b).
Show More

Origin of tan2

by shortening

Tan

[tan]
noun
  1. Amy,born 1952, U.S. novelist.
Show More

TAN

[tan]
noun
  1. tax-anticipation note.
Show More

tan−1

Symbol, Trigonometry.
  1. arc tangent.
Show More
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tan

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Let the leatherist guard his premises with a good-sized Black—and tan.

  • He rose when she entered, and if he was not as pale as she was, it was because his tan dissembled it.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • There was a dull flush showing through the tan of Fletcher's skin.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Tan also is due to pigment in the skin and is caused by light.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Code had gone a sickly pallor that looked hideous through his tan.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams


British Dictionary definitions for tan

tan1

noun
  1. the brown colour produced by the skin after intensive exposure to ultraviolet rays, esp those of the sun
  2. a light or moderate yellowish-brown colour
  3. short for tanbark
Show More
verb tans, tanning or tanned
  1. to go brown or cause to go brown after exposure to ultraviolet raysshe tans easily
  2. to convert (a skin or hide) into leather by treating it with a tanning agent, such as vegetable tannins, chromium salts, fish oils, or formaldehyde
  3. (tr) slang to beat or flog
Show More
adjective tanner or tannest
  1. of the colour tantan gloves
  2. used in or relating to tanning
Show More
Derived Formstannable, adjectivetannish, adjective

Word Origin

Old English tannian (unattested as infinitive, attested as getanned, past participle), from Medieval Latin tannāre, from tannum tanbark, perhaps of Celtic origin; compare Irish tana thin

tan2

abbreviation for
  1. tangent (sense 2)
Show More
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tan

v.

late Old English tannian "to convert hide into leather" (by steeping it in tannin), from Medieval Latin tannare "tan, dye, a tawny color" (c.900), from tannum "crushed oak bark," used in tanning leather, probably from a Celtic source (e.g. Breton tann "oak tree"). The meaning "make brown by exposure to the sun" first recorded 1520s. To tan (someone's) hide in the figurative sense is from 1660s. Related: Tanned; tanning.

Show More

n.

"bronze color imparted to skin by exposure to sun," 1749, see tan (v.). As a simple name for a brownish color, in any context, it is recorded from 1888. The adjective tan "of the color of tanned leather" is recorded from 1660s.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tan in Science

tan

  1. Abbreviation of tangent
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.