Definition of tawny in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɔːni/

adjective (tawnier, tawniest)

Of an orange-brown or yellowish-brown colour: tawny eyes
More example sentences
  • They deployed into the teeth of a furious dust storm that ended in thunder and rain and left tents flattened and Kuwait City covered in tawny dust and mud.
  • Lions vary in colour from nearly white to deep ochre brown but tawny yellow is the commonest shade.
  • When little else is blooming, their cheery flowers of lavender, blue, pink, purple and white brighten the garden like colorful constellations against the tawny yellows and browns of autumn.


[mass noun]
An orange-brown or yellowish-brown colour: pine needles turning from tawny to amber
More example sentences
  • He had hair so black there was a blue sheen to it, and his eyes were an odd, bright green with a flash of tawny in the center, his skin an even golden brown tan.



Pronunciation: /ˈtɔːnɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • Poussin was clearly pleased with the transverse pattern of the flight, in which the tawniness of the two gods alternates with the primrose of the two nymphs, and Syrinx's posture mirrors that of Pan.
  • Lime, red onion and cilantro add a splash of color to the near-uniform tawniness of many of the dishes.
  • The practical result of cold soak is to produce wines with brighter color, less tawniness with added complexity.


Middle English: from Old French tane, from tan 'tanbark'; related to tan1.

  • tan from Old English:

    The original sense of tan is to convert skins into leather. The sense of the colour that the skin acquires after exposure to the sun dates only to the middle of the 18th century. Tan probably comes directly from Latin tannare, but may ultimately go back to a Celtic word for an oak tree. This reflects the process of tanning, whereby the crushed bark of an oak was steeped in water in which skins and hides were then immersed. Oak bark was used because it is rich in tannins (early 19th century), compounds which will tan. The related word tawny (Middle English) comes from Old French tauné, ‘tanned’.

Words that rhyme with tawny

brawny, corny, horny, lawny, mulligatawny, scrawny, thorny

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tawny

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