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[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.
Origin of tannin
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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Examples from the Web for tannin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Animal skins also, in any form, uncombined with tannin, may be worked into glue.

    Cattle and Their Diseases Robert Jennings
  • It is sold in the form of crushed leaves or as a powder (15-20% tannin).

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet
  • There is no deception about it: it tastes of tannin and spruce and creosote.

    In the Wilderness Charles Dudley Warner
  • The tannin unites with the gelatine; and thus the hide becomes leather.

    Makers of Many Things Eva March Tappan
  • It is lots of work to get the tannin out of oak or hemlock bark.

    The Story of Leather

    Sara Ware Bassett
British Dictionary definitions for tannin


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 tannin

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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tannin in Science
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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