: a small steep-banked mountain lake or pool

Examples of tarn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What didn’t end up in a New Orleanian’s blood ended up filling every pothole in the Quarter—a bubbly black tarn of viscid vice. Carly Tagen-Dye, Peoplemag, 7 May 2024 One fuselage is deposited in an enormous hangar, used as a backlot on the slopes of the Sierra: the second one is nearly buried in artificial snow, and surrounded by olive trees; the third is found above the Sierra Nevada’s high mountain tarn La Laguna de las Yeguas, at around 10,000 feet. Emilio Mayorga, Variety, 29 Apr. 2022 In the morning, kick off the day’s driving with a 30-minute excursion to visit the enormous sapphire tarn of Mono Lake, an alkaline expanse freckled with tufa spires, pinnacles formed by calcium carbonate interacting with freshwater springs in the lakebed. Emily Pennington, Condé Nast Traveler, 7 Feb. 2022 Pass Grant Lake, a deep blue tarn nestled in the sagebrush. Krista Simmons, Sunset Magazine, 22 Sep. 2022 The lake, a glacial tarn called Roopkund, was more than sixteen thousand feet above sea level, an arduous five-day trek from human habitation, in a mountain cirque surrounded by snowfields and battered by storms. Douglas Preston, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2020 Follow the winding trail toward the base of O'Malley Peak to a striking, dark tarn called Deep Lake. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, 15 June 2018 In 1951, some 885 square miles of Cumbrian hills and tarns (mountain pools) were designated as a national park, Britain’s largest and, with 18 million annual visitors, its most popular. Kieran Dodds, Smithsonian, 20 Apr. 2018

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

Word History


Middle English terne, tarne, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse tjǫrn small lake

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tarn was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near tarn

Cite this Entry

“Tarn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tarn. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Geographical Definition


geographical name

river 233 miles (375 kilometers) long in southern France flowing west into the Garonne River

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