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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

Examples of tallow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
And that tallow does pop, giving the tortilla a distinct unctuousness that’s easy to obsess over. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2023 According to a 1994 study, tallow candles once cost 40.3 cents per 1,000 lumen hours. Lloyd Alter, Treehugger, 25 Jan. 2023 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tallow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 15 Jun. 2024.

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

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