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tannic acid

noun, Chemistry.
See under tannin.
Origin of tannic acid
First recorded in 1830-40


[tan-in] /ˈtæn ɪn/
Chemistry. any of a group of astringent vegetable principles or compounds, chiefly complex glucosides of catechol and pyrogallol, as the reddish compound that gives the tanning properties to oak bark or the whitish compound that occurs in large quantities in nutgalls (common tannin, tannic acid)
any of these compounds occurring in wine and imparting an astringent taste, especially in red wine.
1795-1805; earlier tanin < F. See tan1, -in2
Related forms
nontannin, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for tannic acid


any of a class of yellowish or brownish solid compounds found in many plants and used as tanning agents, mordants, medical astringents, etc. Tannins are derivatives of gallic acid with the approximate formula C76H52O46 Also called tannic acid
Word Origin
C19: from French tanin, from tan1
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
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Word Origin and History for tannic acid



vegetable substance capable of converting animal hide to leather, 1802, from French tannin (1798), from tan "crushed oak bark containing tannin" (see tan (v.)). Tannic acid first recorded 1836, from French acide tannique, inroduced 1834 by Pelouze.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tannic acid in Medicine

tannic acid n.

  1. A white or yellowish astringent powder used as a denaturant and in tanning and textiles.

  2. A lustrous yellowish to light brown amorphous, powdered, flaked, or spongy mass derived from the bark and fruit of many plants and used as a mordant and to clarify wine and beer.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tannic acid in Science
tannic acid
A lustrous, yellow-brown, amorphous tannin, having the chemical composition C76H52O46. It is derived from the bark and fruit of many plants and used in photography, as a mordant, and as a clarifying agent for wine and beer.
Any of various compounds, including tannic acid, that occur naturally in the bark and fruit of various plants, especially the nutgalls, certain oaks, and sumac. Tannins are polyphenols, and form yellowish to light brown amorphous masses that can be powdery, flaky, or spongy. They are used in photography, dyeing, in tanning leather, in clarifying wine and beer, and as an astringent in medicine. Tannins are also an important ingredient in tea.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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