tal·​low | \ ˈta-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce tallow (audio) \

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

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Other Words from tallow


tallowy \ ˈta-​lə-​wē How to pronounce tallowy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of tallow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Decades ago, after facing relentless criticism by anti-cholesterol activists, McDonald’s Corp. started cooking french fries in vegetable oil, abandoning the beef tallow that gave them a crispy outside and soft texture on the inside. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Beyond Meat’s Pitch for More Customers: It’s Not Just Good for the Planet, It’s Also Good for You.," 25 Sep. 2020 The contraption used 850 metric tons of steel and lead, 17,000 tons of iron, 85,000 tons of wood, more than six miles of chains, and 12,000 pounds of tallow to keep the cogs lubricated. National Geographic, "The mechanical wonder that powered Versailles’s fountains," 20 Aug. 2020 In early interviews, Beuys claimed to have survived a plane crash thanks to the help of nomadic Tatars, who found him in the snow, wrapped him in wool and slathered him in tallow. Alexandra Kleeman, New York Times, "The Spiritual Power of Fat," 12 Aug. 2020 In addition to wool, Beuys used lard, tallow, butter and other animal fats in many of his works. Alexandra Kleeman, New York Times, "The Spiritual Power of Fat," 12 Aug. 2020 When the hide-and-tallow trade began to decline in 1837, Faucon embarked on a new career in the China trade. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "How shipwreck of an opium clipper changed California," 7 Aug. 2020 Pig fat residue on nearby pottery could support the idea that builders greased sledges with lard or tallow to transport the stones, a new analysis suggests. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: How pig fat built Stonehenge, inherited trauma, and an international Ebola emergency," 19 July 2019 The first phase includes the removal of nonnative trees such as the Chinese tallow from 14 acres of the park, with completion scheduled for August, according to Martin’s office. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Most of Sylvan Rodriguez Park to be restored to natural habitats," 18 July 2019 Unfortunately, the genial, addled paraplegic doesn’t have the same kind of business acumen as the no-nonsense owner of the nearby rendering plant where deceased pets, livestock, and roadkill all end up in vats to be boiled down into tallow. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "Doc Talk: More moon, more Morris, more music," 18 July 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for tallow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tallow

Last Updated

7 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tallow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tallow. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for tallow


How to pronounce tallow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tallow

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


tal·​low | \ ˈta-lō How to pronounce tallow (audio) \

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) How to pronounce tallow (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on tallow

Nglish: Translation of tallow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tallow

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