Borrowed from French tan (“tanbark”), from Gaulish tanno- (“green oak”) – compare Breton tann (“red oak”), Old Cornish tannen –, from Proto-Celtic *tannos (“green oak”), of uncertain origin, but perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *(s)dʰonu (“fir”). Per this hypothesis, related to Hittite [script needed] (tanau, “fir”), Latin femur, genitive feminis (“thigh”), German Tann (“woods”), Tanne (“fir”), Albanian thanë (“cranberry bush”), Ancient Greek θάμνος (thámnos, “thicket”), Avestan ???????? (θanuuarə), Sanskrit धनु (dhánu).
tan (plural tans)
- A yellowish-brown colour.
- A darkening of the skin resulting from exposure to sunlight or similar light sources.
- The bark of an oak or other tree from which tannic acid is obtained.
tan (comparative tanner, superlative tannest)
- Of a yellowish-brown.
- Having dark skin as a result of exposure to the sun.
As a verb, from Middle English tannen, from late Old English tannian (“to tan a hide”), from Latin tannare.
tan (third-person singular simple present tans, present participle tanning, simple past and past participle tanned)
- (transitive, intransitive) To change to a tan colour due to exposure to the sun.
- (transitive) To change an animal hide into leather by soaking it in tannic acid. To work as a tanner.
- (transitive, informal) To spank or beat.
From a Brythonic language; influenced in form by yan (“one”) in the same series.
- (dialectal, rare) The second cardinal number two, formerly used in Celtic areas, especially Cumbria and parts of Yorkshire, for counting sheep, and stitches in knitting.
Borrowed from Armenian թան (tʿan).
- An Armenian drink made of yoghurt and water similar to airan and doogh
From the Cantonese pronunciation of 擔
tan (usually uncountable, plural tans)
- Synonym of picul, particularly in Cantonese contexts.
From Old English tān (“twig, switch”), from Proto-Germanic *tainaz (“rod, twig, straw, lot”).
tan (plural tans)
- (dialectal) A twig or small switch.