Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English tawne, from Anglo-Norman tawné, from Old French tané, past participle of taner (to tan), from tan (tanbark, tawny color), from Gaulish tanno (holm oak), from Proto-Celtic *tanno- (green oak), of uncertain further origin.[1] Compare Breton tann, Old Irish caerthann (rowan).



tawny (comparative tawnier, superlative tawniest)

  1. Of a light brown to brownish orange color.
    • 1865, Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod, Chapter I. "The Shipwreck", page 14:
      There were the tawny rocks, like lions couchant, defying the ocean, whose waves incessantly dashed against and scoured them with vast quantities of gravel.
    • 1906 August, Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman”, in Poems, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., published October 1906, OCLC 28569419, part 2, stanza I, pages 48–49:
      He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon; / And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon, / When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor, / A red-coat troop came marching— / Marching—marching— / King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
    • 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows:
      They fell a-twittering among themselves once more, and this time their intoxicating babble was of violet seas, tawny sands, and lizard-haunted walls.
  2. A sweet, fortified wine which is blended and matured in wood.


Related terms[edit]




  1. A light brown to brownish orange colour.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Matasović, Ranko (2009), “*tanno-”, in Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 9), Leiden: Brill, →ISBN, page 369