tal·low | \ˈta-(ˌ)lō \

Definition of tallow 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: the white nearly tasteless solid rendered fat of cattle and sheep used chiefly in soap, candles, and lubricants


tallowed; tallowing; tallows

Definition of tallow (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to grease or smear with tallow

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tallow


tallowy \ˈta-lə-wē \ adjective

Examples of tallow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Don’t miss the bone marrow with bacon jam or the fries cooked in beef tallow. Kate Washington, sacbee, "With a Burning Man vibe, Backbone Café taps into the current 'clean-eating' craze," 27 Apr. 2018 Think Paul Kahan’s perfect fries soaked in beef tallow or Jason Vincent’s shattering onion rings with a side of sticky barbecue ribs at Giant, for example. Michael Nagrant, RedEye Chicago, "Daisies in Logan Square makes the case for dad food," 3 Aug. 2017 But read the label: this study from the University of Vermont, says tallow, which is derived from animal fatty acids, is what keeps deer away. Larell Scardelli, Good Housekeeping, "5 Totally Humane Ways To Keep Deer Out Of Your Garden," 20 Mar. 2017 Rendering plants take slaughterhouse animal tissues and converts them into stable, usable materials like purified fats such as lard or tallow. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Drug used to put dogs down causes recall of Gravy Train, other dog food brands," 16 Feb. 2018 And any journalist or reader who cares about fairness, facts, and consistency should be concerned about this slippery slope greased with the tallow of good intentions. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "It's not my job to pass judgment on a chef's character | Craig LaBan," 25 Jan. 2018 The result on the land, otherwise, would be nuisance tallow trees. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County refuge recovers from ravages of Harvey flood," 27 Oct. 2017 Kept closed to the public, the center was visited only by the invasive Chinese tallow trees that sprung up from the ruins of dead cypress, maple and willow. Beau Evans, NOLA.com, "Nature center, shuttered since Katrina, reopens in New Orleans East," 6 Oct. 2017 The transition to polymer has sparked controversy after the central bank confirmed that a small amount of tallow, or animal fat, was used in the production process. Pan Pylas, USA TODAY, "New plastic Jane Austen 10-pound note launched in Britain," 14 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tallow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of tallow


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tallow


Middle English talgh, talow; akin to Middle Dutch talch tallow

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tallow

Statistics for tallow

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tallow

The first known use of tallow was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tallow



English Language Learners Definition of tallow

: fat from cattle and sheep that is used chiefly to make candles and soap


tal·low | \ˈta-lō \

Kids Definition of tallow

: a white solid fat of cattle and sheep used mostly in making candles and soap


tal·low | \ˈtal-(ˌ)ō, -ə(-w) \

Medical Definition of tallow 

: the white nearly tasteless solid rendered fat of cattle and sheep which is used chiefly in soap, margarine, candles, and lubricants and of which the form obtained from domestic sheep (Ovis aries) is used in pharmacy in ointments and cerates

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tallow

What made you want to look up tallow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!