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[tahrn] /tɑrn/
a small mountain lake or pool, especially one in a cirque.
Origin of tarn
1300-50; Middle English terne < Old Norse tjǫrn pond, pool


[tarn] /tarn/
a department in S France. 2232 sq. mi. (5780 sq. km).
Capital: Albi. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tarn
Historical Examples
  • The Causse Noir from the tarn is a sight not soon forgotten.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • St. nimie is not once mentioned, and nothing is said about the gorges of the tarn.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • They are as safe in their tarn as those enchanted fish of the “Arabian Nights.”

    Angling Sketches Andrew Lang
  • One evening in August, a warm, still evening, I happened to visit the tarn.

    Angling Sketches Andrew Lang
  • They walked quietly on till the tarn was left some way behind.

    Feats on the Fiord Harriet Martineau
  • He pointed to a fair-haired child wading by the side of the tarn.

    Big Game Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • The forfeit is held over them, and each of them stoops in tarn.

    The Ned M'Keown Stories William Carleton
  • In April, 1886, lightning did great damage in the church at Montredon (tarn).

    Thunder and Lightning

    Camille Flammarion
  • Tones like those produced by a harmonica are heard from the tarn.

  • During this scene the beltlike tones from the tarn continue.

British Dictionary definitions for tarn


a small mountain lake or pool
Word Origin
C14: of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse tjörn pool


/French tarn/
a department of S France, in Midi-Pyrénées region. Capital: Albi. Pop: 350 477 (2003 est). Area: 5780 sq km (2254 sq miles)
a river in SW France, rising in the Massif Central and flowing generally west to the Garonne River. Length: 375 km (233 miles)
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 tarn

mid-13c., from Old Norse tjorn "small mountain lake without tributaries," from Proto-Germanic *terno, perhaps originally "water hole." A dialectal word popularized by the Lake poets.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tarn in Science
A small mountain lake, especially one formed as a glacier melts, filling a cirque with water.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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