\ ˈtärn How to pronounce tarn (audio) \

Definition of tarn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small steep-banked mountain lake or pool


geographical name
\ ˈtärn How to pronounce Tarn (audio) \

Definition of Tarn (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Examples of tarn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tarn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tarn


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tarn


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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Tarn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tarn. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of tarn

: a small lake among mountains

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