See more synonyms for tin on Thesaurus.com
  1. Chemistry. a low-melting, malleable, ductile metallic element nearly approaching silver in color and luster: used in plating and in making alloys, tinfoil, and soft solders. Symbol: Sn; atomic weight: 118.69; atomic number: 50; specific gravity: 7.31 at 20°C.
  2. tin plate.
  3. any shallow pan, especially one used in baking.
  4. any pot, box, can, or other container or vessel made of tin or tin plate.
  5. Squash. telltale(def 8).
  6. Chiefly British. a hermetically sealed can containing food.
  7. Slang. a small quantity of an illicit drug, especially from two to five grams of cocaine: usually sold in a small plastic bag, a glassine envelope, or often a small tin container.
  8. British Slang. money.
  1. made or consisting of tin or tin plate.
  2. false; worthless; counterfeit: a set of tin values.
  3. indicating the tenth event of a series, as a wedding anniversary.
verb (used with object), tinned, tin·ning.
  1. Metallurgy.
    1. to cover or coat with tin.
    2. to coat with soft solder.
  2. Chiefly British. to preserve or pack (especially food) in cans; can.
  3. to cover (windows and doors in an abandoned or unoccupied building or apartment) with sheets of tin to prevent vandalism or occupancy by vagrants, squatters, etc.

Origin of tin

before 900; (noun) Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch, Old Norse tin, German Zinn; (v.) Middle English tinnen, derivative of the noun
Related formstin·like, adjectivere·tin, verb (used with object), re·tinned, re·tin·ning.


  1. taxpayer identification number.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tin

Contemporary Examples of tin

Historical Examples of tin

  • Then he tossed his tin dishes away and they fell clattering on the rocks.

  • A tin cup and a cracked pitcher of spring water stood on the window-sill.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The cooking was done in a tin basin on the top of the hot stove.

  • On top of the barrel was a tin coffeepot, a china cup, and half a loaf of bread.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • I played with clay gods and goddesses instead of tin soldiers.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for tin


  1. a metallic element, occurring in cassiterite, that has several allotropes; the ordinary malleable silvery-white metal slowly changes below 13.2°C to a grey powder. It is used extensively in alloys, esp bronze and pewter, and as a noncorroding coating for steel. Symbol: Sn; atomic no: 50; atomic wt: 118.710; valency: 2 or 4; relative density: 5.75 (grey), 7.31 (white); melting pt: 231.9°C; boiling pt: 2603°CRelated adjectives: stannic, stannous
  2. Also called (esp US and Canadian): can an airtight sealed container of thin sheet metal coated with tin, used for preserving and storing food or drink
  3. any container made of metallic tin
  4. fill her tins NZ to complete a home baking of cakes, biscuits, etc
  5. Also called: tinful the contents of a tin or the amount a tin will hold
  6. British, Australian and NZ corrugated or galvanized irona tin roof
  7. any metal regarded as cheap or flimsy
  8. British a loaf of bread with a rectangular shape, baked in a tin
  9. slang money
  10. it does exactly what it says on the tin it lives up to expectations
verb tins, tinning or tinned (tr)
  1. to put (food, etc) into a tin or tins; preserve in a tin
  2. to plate or coat with tin
  3. to prepare (a metal) for soldering or brazing by applying a thin layer of solder to the surface
Derived Formstinlike, adjective

Word Origin for tin

Old English; related to Old Norse tin, Old High German zin
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 tin

Old English tin, from Proto-Germanic *tinom (cf. Middle Dutch and Dutch tin, Old High German zin, German Zinn, Old Norse tin), of unknown origin, not found outside Germanic.

Other Indo-European languages often have separate words for "tin" as a raw metal and "tin plate;" e.g. French étain, fer-blanc. Pliny refers to tin as plumbum album "white lead," and for centuries it was regarded as a form of silver debased by lead.

The chemical symbol Sn is from Late Latin stannum (see stannic). Tin-type in photography is from 1864. Tin ear "lack of musical discernment" is from 1909. Tin Lizzie "early Ford, especially a Model T," first recorded 1915.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tin in Medicine


n. Symbol Sn
  1. A malleable metallic element used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion. Atomic number 50.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tin in Science


  1. A malleable, silvery metallic element that occurs in igneous rocks. It has a crystalline structure and crackles when bent. Tin is used as an anticorrosion agent and is a part of numerous alloys, including bronze. Atomic number 50; atomic weight 118.71; melting point 231.89°C; boiling point 2,270°C; specific gravity 7.31; valence 2, 4. See Periodic Table. See Note at element.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.