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tal·​low ˈta-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce tallow (audio)
: the white nearly tasteless solid rendered fat of cattle and sheep used chiefly in soap, candles, and lubricants
tallowy adjective


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tallowed; tallowing; tallows

transitive verb

: to grease or smear with tallow

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Fat is in the news: Not just because of the world's obesity problems, but because one agriculture company accidentally fattened up the Houston Ship Channel on Tuesday by spilling 15,000 gallons of beef tallow into it. Jennifer Welsh, Discover Magazine, 7 Jan. 2011 West: Almost all the interiors were lit with real tallow candles. John Hopewell, Variety, 15 Oct. 2022 After smoking for hours, the beef is wrapped in peach paper and brushed with tallow. Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Tribune, 5 Sep. 2022 My friends are a course ahead of me and recommend the inguiri nigiri ($12.00), which has plantain, pork tallow, cecina, and chimichurri. Bon Appétit Contributor, Bon Appétit, 12 Aug. 2022 The gravy is made with mushrooms, cracked black pepper and beef tallow instead of butter. Cesar Hernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 July 2022 The Bank of England was initially criticized by some animal lovers and religious groups for using a minimal amount of tallow — an animal fat product commonly used as an industrial lubricant — to produce polymer bills. Amy Cheng, Washington Post, 24 June 2022 The facility, in the midst of a $1.5-billion conversion, is making jet fuel entirely out of animal fat, known as tallow. Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Abbate said his research has shown that bees do go crazy for tallow trees. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, 8 May 2022 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near tallow

Cite this Entry

“Tallow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tallow. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the solid fat of cattle and sheep used chiefly in soap, candles, and lubricants

Medical Definition


: 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

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