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 brain of every game animal contains the perfect volume and balance of conditioning oils to tan its own hide. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "The Ultimate Guide to Tanning Wild Game Pelts and Hides," 24 Dec. 2020 The materials that go into this bag are Leather Working Group Gold-certified, meaning the leather is tanned in the highest level of compliance with sustainable measures, such as energy and water consumption, waste management, and effluent treatment. Camryn Rabideau, USA TODAY, "18 great sustainable products to try this Earth Day," 21 Apr. 2020 Sicilian blood works like the sun, tanning the flesh from the inside out. Lisa Taddeo, Harper's Magazine, "Padua, 1966," 30 Mar. 2020 Perma-tanned and with long, floppy hair, Waugh developed a reputation among some Deutsche Bank colleagues for being a bit of a lightweight. New York Times, "The Money Behind Trump’s Money," 4 Feb. 2020 The gunmen fled in a a silver or tan four-door sedan, driven by another man. Houston Chronicle, "Sketch released in Galleria-area fatal shooting," 13 Feb. 2020 Ammonia is used as a cleaning product, a dye and tanning agent, and industrial fertilizer. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Green Ammonia Could Power the Future—If We Can Get Over the Risks," 24 Feb. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There's a tan-colored fence surrounding the vast, mostly empty, cemetery. AZCentral.com, "'A wake-up call': 500 homeless people died in metro Phoenix in first 9 months of 2020," 17 Dec. 2020 Three men wearing only tan-colored briefs kneel on the stage. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "Dallas Symphony and Dallas Black Dance Theatre honor lives lost due to racial violence," 12 Nov. 2020 Trademark farmer tans and sock line tan lines – big time! Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Thanks for the memories, Cedar Point: Readers recall their favorite park moments," 3 May 2020 One of the men — who wore a black half-nose mask with black sunglasses, a black leather style jacket, camo pants, desert tan military style boots, and black gloves — worked the safe, deputies said. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Two Florida men use a blow torch on an ATM. But they ‘bungled the job,’ cops say," 4 June 2019 Alani, in chains and dressed in a tan jail outfit, did not speak in court. Curt Anderson, BostonGlobe.com, "Airline mechanic gets 3 years for sabotaging jetliner," 4 Mar. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun More than getting a good tan, Garstka loved children. jsonline.com, "Meet just a fraction of the people Wisconsin lost to COVID in a single week -- dancers, woodworkers, fathers and sisters," 27 Nov. 2020 Back wall: black-and-tan ceramic bowls and vases, Studio Keramik. House Beautiful, "This Upstate New York Home Has Amazing, 20' Pitched Ceilings," 15 Oct. 2020 Eleanor Faderman was short and slight, her features sharpened as if to points, her hair an odd sort of color, almost like it should have been brown but then most of the pigment had been leached from it, leaving it a dull tan. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "'Plain Bad Heroines' Is Marie Claire's November Book Club Pick," 26 Oct. 2020 Suddenly a tan-colored American Staffordshire Terrior named Katya ran out from a backyard, charged at them and attacked them in the street, police said. Brooke Baitinger, sun-sentinel.com, "A woman and her dog were attacked by a larger dog. Now it could be labeled a ‘dangerous dog.’," 26 Oct. 2020 The white or tan scale insects are found primarily coating the underside of the leaves. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "Should you cull oleander from yard? It can be poisonous -- but only if you eat it," 7 Oct. 2020 The Anova’s came out a reddish gold; the other oven’s came out an ashen tan. Wilson Rothman, WSJ, "From Baking to Sous Vide, This Smart Steam Oven Is Your New Kitchen BFF," 4 Oct. 2020 Kennedy paired his tan with a blue suit, offering a nice contrast on black and white TVs. Ashley Thomas, Star Tribune, "Reagan's age, Mitt's binders: Presidential debate highlights," 26 Sep. 2020 Telvi wrapped a large gold, white and cream-colored shawl over a T-shirt and wore it with an old pair of black leggings and tan and gold sandals. Bea Lewis, sun-sentinel.com, "Dressing for a pandemic: Grandmother shares her outfit of the day during COVID-19," 25 Sep. 2020

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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tan. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on tan

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