taw·​ny | \ˈtȯ-nē, ˈtä-nē\
tawnier; tawniest

Definition of tawny 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of the color tawny

2 : of a warm sandy color the lion's tawny coat


plural tawnies

Definition of tawny (Entry 2 of 2)

: a brownish-orange to light brown color

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Other Words from tawny


tawniness noun

Synonyms for tawny

Synonyms: Adjective

blond (or blonde), fair, flaxen, golden, sandy, straw

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Examples of tawny in a Sentence


the tawny coat of a lion

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Her friends had gathered at the back of the boat in late May, tossing bits of fish to a group of tawny nurse sharks in the water, Brunning told the West Australian newspaper. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "She wanted to hand-feed a shark but then aghh no not like that why???," 2 July 2018 Beyond, in a blast of light, red-tiled roofs cascade down a hill amid vines and olive trees to a stucco high-rise floating above a tawny urban expanse. Sidney Lawrence, WSJ, "A Muse Embedded in Mystery," 22 June 2018 Cast-iron-roasted chicken took a familiar comfort to a new level, the bird’s tawny skin drizzled with rich jus that puddled into potato gnocchi flecked with Cabot cheddar. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Craig LaBan's first bite of the Delaware beaches | A dining guide," 15 June 2018 Red was aged in pinot noir, Oloroso Sherry and tawny port barrels, with cherries and raspberries added. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Third Space Brewing adds more equipment and expects to double its beer production," 4 June 2018 The spare, tawny walls take on a rich glow under the light of dim chandeliers. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "At Heirloom Cafe, Matt Straus keeps alive the dying art of cellaring wine," 29 May 2018 Deep green hillsides plunge to tawny strands of beach lapped by the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. BostonGlobe.com, "Four reasons to relocate to Cape Breton — if only for a few days (five, if you play golf)," 23 May 2018 In an adjacent field, a tawny horse lifts its head from the grass to watch us drive by. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Four: The Gospel of Bundy," 18 May 2018 But, besides occasional jaguars in the extreme Southwest, melanistic big cats have never been documented in the U.S. — across the rest of the nation, the naturally tawny cougar is the only native big cat. 16. Elisa Neckar, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Big Cats," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lunar eclipses occur when the sun and moon are in direct opposition, a phenomenon that temporarily turns the moon a tawny, red tone. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What July's Pisces Horoscope Means for You," 29 June 2018 As Zarate places the skewers on the cast iron, the strips of flesh sear on contact, the anticucho sauce sizzling into an instant tawny crust. Patric Kuh, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Food at Rosaliné Is Full of Heart (Yes, Literally) and You Need to Taste It," 29 Sep. 2017 Simon's version of the highball, on the menu as the Ghost In The Shell, mixes Suntory's Toki, Niepoort tawny port, Weatherby's orange saffron bitters and apricot La Croix. Shelbie Lynn Bostedt, chicagotribune.com, "Move over, sake: Chicago's thirst for Japanese whisky is on the rise," 11 Sep. 2017 Continue whisking for up to 20-30 minutes on a very slow flame until the roux goes from a light tawny to the color of peanut butter or dark chocolate (depending on its eventual use). Amy Brothers, The Denver Post, "Get Cooking: Mother Sauces — for Mother’s Day, of course," 11 May 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tawny


Middle English, from Anglo-French tané, tauné, literally, tanned, from past participle of tanner to tan

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

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English Language Learners Definition of tawny

: having a brownish-orange color


taw·​ny | \ˈtȯ-nē \
tawnier; tawniest

Kids Definition of tawny

: of a brownish orange color

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Comments on tawny

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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