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
3 : thrash, whip

intransitive verb

: to get or become tan

tan

adjective
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

Reflection of the sun from snow, water, sand or ice can cause photokeratitis, as can tanning equipment or staring unprotected at the solar eclipse. Beth Wood, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Protect your eyes for life with healthy diet, sun shielding," 24 June 2019 The bobcat, known scientifically as lynx rufus, or red lynx, has reddish to tan fur, stripes on its face and mottled spots on its body. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: When it comes to wildcats in Wisconsin, bobcats are king," 5 June 2019 Love reading while at the beach, but can never find a comfortable way to tan your back at the same time? Tainaya Nash, House Beautiful, "Read While Lying Down with This Genius Beach Chair," 14 June 2019 Not all of us have time to just tan our vaginas, Shailene! Sophia Benoit, GQ, "How to Keep Your Relationship Alive with One Text a Day," 16 May 2018 Don’t tan outdoors or in a tanning booth Whether intentional or a mere result of spending too much time outside in the sun (sans sunscreen), having a real tan can cause your spray tan to look unnatural. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "11 Things to Avoid Doing Right Before Getting a Spray Tan," 10 Dec. 2018 Made in an Italian factory that used to work exclusively with luxury companies, the leather is vegetable-tanned to improve its look after a few wears. Stephanie Wu, Town & Country, "The Italian Leather Sandal You'll Wear All Summer," 22 May 2014 My chest is still day-one tanned, but my boobs, underarms, and tummy are as pale as the day I was born. Georgia Murray, refinery29.com, "I'm A Tanning Virgin — Can The King Of Tan Convert Me?," 27 June 2018 For one, people are still tanning—not just in beds, but also the beach and in the park. Lauren Valenti, Marie Claire, "The Rate of Deadly Skin Cancer Has Doubled Over the Last Three Decades," 9 June 2015

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Von Hep shared a photo to Instagram of a suspiciously tan foot sprouting out from a very, well, not tanned ankle. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Woman's Foot Self-Tanner Fail Is Going Viral on Instagram," 16 Oct. 2018 The atmosphere is generic international hotel, with the standard-issue minimalist touches: streaky marble bar, mirrored walls, low-slung bar tables with Barcelona-style bench seating in tastefully tan leather. Fox, Town & Country, "A Table for Mr. Fox," 21 Nov. 2012 This drama is also why the tannest photo of 2018, Selena and Kylie at this year’s Met Gala, was so major, as the two ladies hadn’t been seen together in years. Mariah Smith, The Cut, "Like Everything, Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin’s Relationship Is Connected to the Kardashians," 11 July 2018 In movies, the music industry’s shady opportunists are often cast as overly tan white men with heavy gold chains, who wear their dyed hair teased high. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Forced to Perform As Aretha Franklin," 2 July 2018 Police say a black man between 20 and 30 years old driving a newer model, tan four-door sedan was involved in an accident in the parking lot at 1132 Sycamore St., Pendleton, around 12:55 a.m. Sunday. Avery Jennings, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Police: Man struck woman in face after minor parking lot accident," 10 June 2018 Both wore tinted sunglasses while Dunst, 36, held a hand to her baby bump that was showcased under a knee-length Snyder cashmere dress by Equipment (available here in black) and tan trench coat. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Bumping Along! Pregnant Kirsten Dunst Shows Off Her Baby Belly During Outing with Jesse Plemons," 3 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bieber addressed the criticism with a selfie posted to her Instagram Story, in which her new tan is on full view. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Hailey Bieber Claps Back at Critics Who Called Her "Too Tan”," 29 Apr. 2019 And giving up my tanning bed habit means that my tan eventually faded into a paleness that more resembles my husband’s skin tone. Anne Roderique-jones, SELF, "My Husband and I Are Becoming the Same Person," 19 Mar. 2019 Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto Hawaii, which picked up a lot of business last year when people couldn’t get their tan in the Caribbean, has seen some softness and might be a place for travelers to look for last-minute bargains over the holidays. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Best Winter Travel Deals Move Overseas," 12 Dec. 2018 After exiting the shade of trees, tubers can choose to float down either side of a grassy peninsula where sunbathers work on their tans. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida Springs Guide: Rock Springs at Kelly Park," 21 June 2019 For a man who’s to turn a century old in five months, Melnikoff is the picture of vigor with his healthy tan, spry bearing and talkative personality. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "'True fighting soldier' reflects — and returns to France — for 75th anniversary of D-Day invasion," 6 June 2019 Gnats tend to be gray or black, while fruit flies range from light tan to reddish orange and brown. Natalie Schumann, Country Living, "How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies for Good," 9 May 2019 The stockings are only $7 and come in nude, black, and tan. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Has a Genius Hack To Keep Her Shoes and Tights from Slipping," 22 Aug. 2018 Wearing her hair pulled up, she was dressed in a long tan trench coat, scarf, and heels. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Dressed as “Captain Marvel” And More of the Weekend’s Stylish Celeb Moments," 29 Apr. 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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Learn More about tan

Dictionary Entries near tan

Tamus

Tamuz

Tamworth

tan

Tana

tanacetin

Tanacetum

Statistics for tan

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tan

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

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More Definitions for tan

tan

verb

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

tan

adjective

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.

tan

adjective
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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