tan·​ning ˈta-niŋ How to pronounce tanning (audio)
: a browning of the skin especially by exposure to sun
: the art or process by which a skin is tanned
: a sound spanking
: a natural darkening and hardening of the cuticle of an insect immediately after molting

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Lab researchers take readings at several places, from the fingers where oximeters are placed, of course, but also from the nose, both sides of the ears, and the upper arms, which generally see little sunlight and therefore aren’t darkened by tanning. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, 16 Dec. 2022 The reality about testicle tanning? Timothy Caulfield, Men's Health, 21 Nov. 2022 Earlier today, the supermodel shared an Instagram carousel featuring photos from her low-key day at home tanning and enjoying the warm weather. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 11 Apr. 2023 It is most frequently caused by exposure to the sun or indoor tanning, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, which added that wearing sunscreen daily, avoiding the most intense sunlight, and checking your skin monthly can reduce the risk of developing the disease. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, 6 Apr. 2023 This easy-to-use towelette was GH's Beauty Assistant's first foray into self-tanning. Catharine Malzahn, Good Housekeeping, 17 Mar. 2023 This all said — happy tanning. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 2 Feb. 2023 As for tanning, don’t; fake it instead. Fiorella Valdesolo, WSJ, 18 May 2021 The shore is great for tanning or sand castle building — or just lounging the day away with your favorite beach read. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 26 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near tanning

Cite this Entry

“Tanning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tanning. Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the art or process by which an animal skin is tanned
: a browning of the skin especially by exposure to the sun
: a usually severe whipping

Medical Definition


tan·​ning ˈtan-iŋ How to pronounce tanning (audio)
: a browning of the skin by exposure to sun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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