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noun (1)

: a sharp distinctive often lingering flavor
: a pungent odor
: something having the effect of a tang (as in stimulation of the senses)
the tang of the autumn air
add tang to your writing
: a faint suggestion : trace
my comment held a tang of sarcasm
: a distinguishing characteristic that sets apart or gives a special individuality
: a projecting shank, prong, fang, or tongue (as on a knife, file, or sword) to connect with the handle
: any of various surgeonfishes compare blue tang
tanged adjective


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verb (1)

tanged; tanging; tangs

transitive verb

: to furnish with a tang
: to affect with a tang


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verb (2)

tanged; tanging; tangs
: clang, ring


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noun (2)

: a sharp twanging sound


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noun (3)

variants or T'ang
: a Chinese dynasty dated a.d. 618–907 and marked by wide contacts with other cultures and by the development of printing and the flourishing of poetry and art

Examples of tang in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The loops take you up sharp hillsides, through pastures, and into hamlets where the air carries a barnyard tang. Tim Neville, Travel + Leisure, 1 Apr. 2024 The tang of the apple cider combined with the Worcestershire balances out the sweetness from ketchup and brown sugar. Robert F. Moss, Southern Living, 25 Mar. 2024 Delicate fresh fruit with tropical tones or peach, pineapple and a little pink grapefruit tang. Lana Bortolot, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 The tang of the cream cheese icing is enhanced by the addition of buttermilk to the dough—our Southern spin on the recipe. Liv Dansky, Southern Living, 24 Jan. 2024 Think of a spritz of lime over a coconut curry, the jolt of vinegar in a creamy dressing, or the tang from buttermilk in pancake batter. Zola Gregory, Bon Appétit, 20 Jan. 2024 The handle is comprised of black and green Micarta slabs attached to the tang. Jim Cobb, Field & Stream, 4 Jan. 2024 Buttermilk and sour cream provide a subtle tang, cutting the sugar. Liv Dansky, Southern Living, 11 Nov. 2023 Although the instrument has an integral role in the orchestral ecosystem—every ensemble tunes to its piercing A—the sweet-and-sour tang of its sound limits its popularity as a solo voice, particularly in comparison with the mellifluousness of the flute or the clarinet. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse tangi point of land, tang

Verb (2)


Noun (3)

Chinese (Beijing) Táng

First Known Use

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Verb (1)

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1556, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1686, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1669, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tang was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near tang

Cite this Entry

“Tang.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tang. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a sharp often lingering flavor
: a sharp odor

More from Merriam-Webster on tang

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