tan·nin | \ˈta-nən \

Definition of tannin 

1 : any of various soluble astringent complex phenolic substances of plant origin used especially in tanning leather and dyeing textiles, manufacturing ink, clarifying wine and beer, and in medicine

2 : a substance that has a tanning effect

Examples of tannin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Garalis Limnio 2016 Attractive aromas of red fruit, violets, and mineral hint at the palate to come, which is full of juicy red fruits and plentiful-but-polished tannins. Ellen Bhang, BostonGlobe.com, "Set the table with these distinctive Greek wines," 2 July 2018 Rayuelo is her bobal, citrus-edged and smelling like violets, with exotic fruit flavors and fine tannins. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "The Grape From Manchuela," 21 June 2018 The tannins in this case are grippy and formidable. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tasting notes: Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon," 1 June 2018 The zingy acidity makes for a truly food-friendly wine, and a few years of bottle age have softened the tannins and helped everything to coalesce into a nice, tight package. Dan Davis, NOLA.com, "A toast to Old Man Winter: 3 red wines for cold nights," 18 Jan. 2018 The hides soak in a mixture of water and tannins for 14 days, after which they're wrung out and laid flat for inspection. Lara Sorokanich, Popular Mechanics, "How To Make Leather," 2 Aug. 2016 Most of the time, the juice is quickly whisked away from the skins and seeds, which contain pigments and tannins that can add color and astringency. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "From Campania’s Volcanic Soils, Whites in Multiple Colors," 31 May 2018 Very buttery and complex, with a dense, earthy flavor and a hint of tannin and maybe a little oaky. Nick Hoppe, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lessons on how to become a wine snob," 13 May 2018 The approachable blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Carignan inside has soft tannins and notes of Provençal herbs. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "Can You Judge a Wine By the Shape of Its Bottle?," 10 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tannin.' 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 tannin

1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tannin

French, from tanner to tan

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tannin

Statistics for tannin

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tannin

The first known use of tannin was in 1802

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tannin



English Language Learners Definition of tannin

: a reddish acid that comes from plants, is used in making ink and leather, and occurs in various foods and drinks (such as wine)


tan·nin | \ˈta-nən \

Kids Definition of tannin

: a substance often made from oak bark or sumac and used in tanning animal hides, dyeing fabric and yarn, and making ink


tan·nin | \ˈtan-ən \

Medical Definition of tannin 

1 : any of various soluble astringent complex phenolic substances of plant origin used in tanning, dyeing, the making of ink, and in medicine as astringents and formerly in the treatment of burns

2 : a substance that has a tanning effect

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tannin

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


a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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