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See more synonyms for tallow on Thesaurus.com
  1. the fatty tissue or suet of animals.
  2. the harder fat of sheep, cattle, etc., separated by melting from the fibrous and membranous matter naturally mixed with it, and used to make candles, soap, etc.
  3. any of various similar fatty substances: vegetable tallow.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to smear with tallow.
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Origin of tallow

1300–50; Middle English talow, talgh; cognate with German Talg
Related formsun·tal·lowed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for tallow

Historical Examples

  • There was a tallow dip or two, and no other light save that of the fire.

    The Village Watch-Tower

    (AKA Kate Douglas Riggs) Kate Douglas Wiggin

  • How glorious it would be just to eat of it, raw, tallow bacon!

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • And in 1634 he sent over for a large quantity of wicks and tallow.

  • This tallow is dearer than common tallow, but cheaper than wax.

  • They had been to Taganrog and loaded a cargo of tallow for London.

British Dictionary definitions for tallow


  1. a fatty substance consisting of a mixture of glycerides, including stearic, palmitic, and oleic acids and extracted chiefly from the suet of sheep and cattle: used for making soap, candles, food, etc
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  1. (tr) to cover or smear with tallow
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Derived Formstallowy, adjective

Word Origin

Old English tælg, a dye; related to Middle Low German talch tallow, Dutch talk, Icelandic tólg
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 tallow


mid-14c., talwgh, from a form cognate with Middle Low German talg "tallow," Middle Dutch talch, from Proto-Germanic *talga-, meaning perhaps originally "firm, compact material" (cf. Gothic tulgus "firm, solid").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper