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tan 1

v. tanned, tan·ning, tans
1. To convert (an animal hide) into leather by subjecting it to a chemical process that stabilizes the proteins, making it less susceptible to decay.
a. To make (a person or a person's skin) darker by exposure to the sun.
b. To make (a person or a person's skin) darker by exposure to artificial sunlight or by the application of certain chemicals, often in the form of sprays or lotions.
3. Informal To thrash; beat.
To become darker from exposure to the sun or artificial sunlight, or from the application of certain chemicals.
1. A light or moderate yellowish brown to brownish orange.
a. A suntan.
b. An artificially created suntan.
3. Tanbark.
a. Tannin.
b. A solution derived from tannin.
adj. tan·ner, tan·nest
1. Light or moderate yellowish-brown to brownish-orange.
2. Having a suntan or the appearance of a suntan.
3. Used in or relating to tanning.

[Middle English tannen, from Old English *tannian, from Medieval Latin tannāre, from tannum, tanbark, probably of Celtic origin.]

tan′nish adj.

tan 2

abbr. Mathematics


n. pl. Tan or Tans
See Tanka.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


pl n
(Historical Terms) the Tans informal Irish short for the Black and Tans
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in classic literature ?
It was a magnificent animal--a great bay stallion with a white-blazed face and white forelegs to the knees, its barrel encircled by a broad surcingle of white; and as it came to a sudden stop beside Tan, the Englishman saw that it bore a man and a girl--a tall man and a girl as beautiful as Co-Tan.
"As you will, Tan Gama," replied he who had before spoken.
"And if I do not tan your hide for you in better shape than ever calf-skin was turned into top-boots, may a murrain seize me!"
I'll lay for you, my smarty; and if I catch you about that school I'll tan you good.
If I do not tan thy hide this day as ne'er I tanned a calf's hide in all my life before, split my staff into skewers for lamb's flesh and call me no more brave man!
His head flashed up, huge jaws distended, fangs gleaming, to sink into the slender, silken-hosed ankle above the tan low-cut shoes.
The sight was good to her, nor did she under-appraise the lines of the slender ankle above the low tan tie nor did she under-appraise the delicate yet mature swell of calf outlined in the fresh brown of a new cotton stocking.
But by the flush that showed under the tan of his chum's cheeks the young financial secretary felt pretty certain that Tom was a bit apprehensive of the outcome of Professor Beecher's call on Mary Nestor.
That is mere sentimentality that lies abed by day and thinks itself white, far from the tan and callus of experience.
He examined my puttees and my strong tan shoes--a little the worse for wear now.
The tan of the seashore had left her face, and her forehead was smooth, white, and polished beneath her heavy, yellow-brown hair.
There were the two watchmen, sure enough: red-cap on his back, as stiff as a handspike, with his arms stretched out like those of a crucifix and his teeth showing through his open lips; Israel Hands propped against the bulwarks, his chin on his chest, his hands lying open before him on the deck, his face as white, under its tan, as a tallow candle.