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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Constance smiles and holds up the cards, tall in her tennis whites, her legs and arms tanned. Kate Walbert, The New Yorker, "To Do," 26 Aug. 2019 Despite their biological differences, both species’ skin, when tanned, exhibits a similar diamond pattern. Rachel Nuwer, National Geographic, "Cowboy boots sold in the U.S. fueled the decline of pangolins," 24 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And Donald Trump’s unnaturally orange hue? Trump and three leading Democratic challengers are all septuagenarians, and there's not enough hair dye or spray tan in the world to cover up that fact. Author: Roxanne Roberts, Anchorage Daily News, "The senior citizens running for president and how they try to look younger," 10 Nov. 2019 An example can be seen on State Street north of the Chicago River, with pavement painted tan to extend the curb space for pedestrians, ringed with plastic bollards or posts to slow down traffic. Mary Wisniewski, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago traffic fatalities are down so far this year. Is it luck, or is the city’s ‘Vision Zero’ policy making a difference?," 8 Nov. 2019 The student wore a dark brown dress shirt tucked into tan pants with a black tie and matching dress shoes. BostonGlobe.com, "Boy’s Nazi costume at elementary school Halloween parade sparks outrage - The Boston Globe," 5 Nov. 2019 He was last seen wearing a black shirt, tan pants, black and white tennis shoes, and a black hat. Ayano Nagaishi, azcentral, "Scottsdale police looking for 2 people connected to multiple robberies," 31 Oct. 2019 She was last seen wearing a black dress, tan duck boots, and black stockings. Andrea Cavallier, NBC News, "Aniah Blanchard, stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris, missing from Auburn, Alabama since last Wednesday," 28 Oct. 2019 White tights and camel coat Kelsey Cherry Total Comfort Soft Touch Tights calzedonia.com SHOP NOW Black opaque tights may be your go-to for the office, but white looks especially chic beneath something with a camel or tan color. Diana Nguyen, Marie Claire, "Chic Ways to Add Tights to Your Work Wardrobe This Fall," 25 Oct. 2019 The Southern Union student was last seen wearing a black dress and tan boots with black stockings. Essence, "Daughter Of UFC Heavyweight Missing In Alabama," 25 Oct. 2019 After reuniting on the tan carpet outside of Los Angeles’ Regency Village Theatre, Cranston and Paul posed for pictures while laughing and joking with each other, much to the delight of the crowd. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "They're in the Empire Business. Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston Had the Best Time Reuniting at the Breaking Bad Movie Premiere," 8 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tan

Time Traveler for tan

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for tan

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tan.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tanned. Accessed 21 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on tan

What made you want to look up tan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!