tan·​ger·​ine ˈtan-jə-ˌrēn How to pronounce tangerine (audio)
: any of various mandarin oranges that have usually deep orange skin and pulp
broadly : mandarin sense 3b
: a tree producing tangerines
: a moderate to strong reddish orange

Did you know?

When tangerine was first used in the mid-19th century it was an adjective we'd borrowed from French to describe people or things from or relating to the Moroccan city of Tangier. (The French name for "Tangier" is Tanger.) Within about a hundred years the noun tangerine was being used to refer to the fruit we now know by that name. Although tangerines were at one time thought to be native to Morocco, they are now thought to be indigenous to southeast Asia. As our definition explains, tangerines are technically a kind of mandarin orange-and mandarin is another word we got from the French. The French mandarine is most likely originally from the Portuguese word mandarim, which etymologists believe is probably from the color of a Chinese mandarin's robes.

Examples of tangerine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Magnolia, musk, tangerine, and Bulgarian rose—all typical middle notes—already help the original fragrance linger for hours. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 Aug. 2023 The blood orange tangerine flavor boasts a sweet-tart tang that makes for a perfect sub to orange soda. Becca Miller, Women's Health, 24 Aug. 2023 For some reason, this tangerine orange 1970 buggy and its matching owner were the first thing that caught our eye. Elana Scherr, Car and Driver, 16 Aug. 2023 After months of waiting, the perfume, with sensual notes of magnolia, musk, tangerine, and Bulgarian rose—is finally back in stock for good. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 Aug. 2023 This rockstar of a deodorant comes in eight different scents, including clean tangerine and lavender sage. Alexandra Domrongchai, Travel + Leisure, 5 Aug. 2023 And try adding a splash of tangerine juice into your margarita shaker or a slice of orange peel. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 24 July 2023 Saga’s spiral is many fine rings, made with the help of a Japanese mandoline; the creamy yellow accents turn out to be a puree of tangerine peel and habanero. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 16 June 2023 Enjoy the goodness of full-spectrum hemp extract and natural tangerine flavors, which are skillfully mixed to provide a pleasant taste with every bite. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 3 July 2023 See More

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

Word History


Tangerine (orange), from French Tanger Tangier, Morocco + English -ine entry 1

First Known Use

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of tangerine was in 1842


Dictionary Entries Near tangerine

Cite this Entry

“Tangerine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tangerine. Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


tan·​ger·​ine ˈtan-jə-ˌrēn How to pronounce tangerine (audio)
: any of various mandarin oranges having a usually deep orange skin and pulp
also : a tree producing tangerines

More from Merriam-Webster on tangerine

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