tan

verb
\ ˈtan How to pronounce tan (audio) \
tanned; tanning

Definition of tan

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to make (skin) tan especially by exposure to the sun
2a : to convert (hide) into leather by treatment with an infusion of tannin-rich bark or other agent of similar effect
b : to convert (protein) to leather or a similar substance

intransitive verb

: to get or become tan
tanner; tannest

Definition of tan (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : of the color tan
2 : of, relating to, or used for tan or tanning

tan

noun

Definition of tan (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a brown color imparted to the skin especially by exposure to the sun
2 : a light yellowish brown
3 tans plural : tan-colored articles of clothing
4 : a tanning material or its active agent (such as tannin)

Definition of tan (Entry 4 of 4)

tangent

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Examples of tan in a Sentence

Adjective I can't believe how tan she is! a horse with tan markings Noun I got a tan on my vacation.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The 31-year-old surfer is tanned and freckled, his hair gelled back to give that permanent ocean-wet vibe. Brittany Meiling, San Diego Union-Tribune, "How this 31-year-old Pacific Beach surfer makes millions selling sunglasses," 14 Oct. 2019 Rubbed with cumin and garlic and tanned on a charcoal grill, the bird is a little mash note to Lima, even more so in the company of yucca that has been fried so the outside is crisp and the center is fluffy. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Tom Sietsema’s 8 favorite places to eat right now," 21 Aug. 2019 From the sheet emerged her still strong shoulders and buff arms (all that kayaking!), tanned and covered with freckles, her face still golden from the outdoors. Catherine Texier, Longreads, "I’m 72. So What?," 24 Oct. 2019 Sure, the contestants are a little more spray-tanned and unintelligible than the titular Fleabag, but their drive for connection is fundamentally the same. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Phoebe Waller-Bridge Is Unrecognizable as a Love Island Contestant on Saturday Night Live," 7 Oct. 2019 The hides were packed in salt and sent back to Pakistan to be tanned. Sig Christenson, ExpressNews.com, "After 18 years, Texas veterans wonder how long U.S. can stay in Afghanistan," 15 Sep. 2019 Some of the scroll parchments are tanned (part of the Eastern tradition) and some are untanned (a Western tradition). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The secret to miraculous preservation of a Dead Sea Scroll could be salt coating," 11 Sep. 2019 Both animals’ skin yields a diamond pattern when tanned. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Cowboy Boots Purchased in the U.S. Played Part in Pangolins’ Decline," 26 July 2019 Prior to the Lakers-Clippers summer league matchup Saturday, Rivers strutted into the arena dressed in all black, face tanned from golfing and a bright smile because his franchise and his perception has been resurrected over the past two years. Gary Washburn, BostonGlobe.com, "Could the Celtics reap the rewards of Kawhi Leonard’s signing with the Clippers?," 7 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The groom wore tan dress shorts and a crisp shirt with a purple orchid boutonniere, creating a casual and informal vibe. New York Times, "Laughter and Love, a Gazillion Dates Later," 20 Dec. 2019 Alani, shackled and wearing tan jail clothing, said through an Arabic interpreter. USA TODAY, "American Airlines mechanic pleads guilty to sabotaging September flight for overtime pay," 20 Dec. 2019 Her curls formed a close cap framing her light tan face. David Canfield, EW.com, "The Relentless Moon: Get a first look at the otherworldly follow-up to The Calculating Stars," 5 Nov. 2019 This money was initially tan with black or red ink. Jonah Estess, The Conversation, "Curious Kids: Why is money green?," 29 Aug. 2019 The two defendants wore tan jumpsuits and held their hands cuffed in front of them. Susan Scutti, CNN, "More arrests expected in 12 deaths at Florida nursing home, police say," 27 Aug. 2019 That's less than the city had budgeted for the three-floor building, which will feature a yellow and tan stone design with large windows, on the existing campus on Delafield Street near Buena Vista Avenue. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha's new City Hall will cost $19.4 million to build based on low bid now in officials' hands," 20 Aug. 2019 Hartlage was last seen wearing a light brown or tan fly-fishing vest and grey hip waders along with a brown baseball cap and a yellow or pink fly-fishing lure attached. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "A Kentucky attorney went missing while fishing in Alaska, police say," 2 July 2019 While cloth interiors are certainly cheaper than other options, the black cloth is probably no cheaper than, say, gray or tan cloth. Ray Magliozzi, courant.com, "Car Talk: How much is my Honda CRV worth?," 30 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His blond ringlets sneaked out from the bottom of his cap, and a pale scar was visible in the sun tan of his right leg. John Branch, New York Times, "Kelly Slater Wants to Surf in the Olympics. His Neighbor Is in the Way.," 3 Dec. 2019 The baby girl looked adorable in a tan one piece paired with a little straw hat. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Kylie Jenner Posts Throwback Photo of Stormi from a Year Ago: 'Where Does the Time Go?'," 9 Oct. 2019 Police initially said Martinez's vehicle struck three other vehicles, however, Flam said Wednesday that Martinez's vehicle struck a total of four while traveling north on Sossaman Road in a tan Buick SUV. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "Mesa police ID man killed in Mesa crash involving 4 other vehicles," 2 Oct. 2019 The mandatory zone is shown in red on the map above, and the evacuation advisory zone in tan. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, "Sand Fire map: Evacuation zone, perimeter of Yolo County wildfire," 9 June 2019 This rugged jacket is made in the USA and available in tan, brown, moss, navy, and olive. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "31 Great Gifts for Father’s Day 2019," 5 June 2019 The couple fled in a tan Nissan Altima in an unknown direction. Emily Lane, NOLA.com, "Man pistol-whips his girlfriend's father in Lower 9th burglary: NOPD," 14 May 2018 Hire manager Gabe Kapler, a man with a tan and baggage ... Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Burning questions: Suit up Steve Kerr? Say bon voyage to Giants?," 23 Nov. 2019 Nine days later, security cameras recorded Lillienfeld coming in and out of the jail — in a tan and green deputy uniform. Alene Tchekmedyianstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Sheriff rehires corruption investigator accused of posing as deputy in bizarre jail incident," 23 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tan.' 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 tan

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

Adjective

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1674, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for tan

Verb

Middle English tannen, from Anglo-French tanner, from Medieval Latin tannare, from tanum, tannum tanbark

Noun

French, tanbark, from Old French, from Medieval Latin tanum

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Time Traveler for tan

Time Traveler

The first known use of tan was in the 13th century

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Statistics for tan

Last Updated

24 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tan.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tan. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for tan

tan

verb
How to pronounce tan (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tan

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to cause (skin) to become darker especially from being exposed to the sun's rays
: to become darker especially from being exposed to the sun's rays
: to change (the skin of an animal) into leather by a chemical process

English Language Learners Definition of tan (Entry 2 of 3)

: having skin that has been made darker by being exposed to the sun's rays
: having a light brown color

tan

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tan (Entry 3 of 3)

: a browning of the skin that is caused by the sun's rays
: a light brown color

tan

verb
\ ˈtan How to pronounce tan (audio) \
tanned; tanning

Kids Definition of tan

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to change animal hide into leather especially by soaking in a tannin solution
2 : to make or become brown in color She doesn't tan. Instead, she gets a sunburn.
tanner; tannest

Kids Definition of tan (Entry 2 of 3)

: of a light yellowish brown color

tan

noun

Kids Definition of tan (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a brown color given to the skin by the sun or wind
2 : a light yellowish brown : the color of sand

tan

verb
\ ˈtan How to pronounce tan (audio) \
tanned; tanning

Medical Definition of tan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make (skin) tan especially by exposure to the sun

intransitive verb

: to get or become tanned

tan

noun

Medical Definition of tan (Entry 2 of 2)

: a brown color imparted to the skin by exposure to the sun or wind

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More from Merriam-Webster on tan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tan

Spanish Central: Translation of tan

Nglish: Translation of tan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tan for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tan

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