Definition of tun in English:

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Pronunciation: /tʌn/


1A large beer or wine cask.
Example sentences
  • In 1347 he sold 3 tuns of wine to the King's Butler; while in 1349 he exported cloth.
  • He gave the order for a tun of the local wine to be delivered by packman to the Earl's castle in late summer.
  • As for size, the tonnage of ships in this period was reckoned literally in terms of capacity to carry tuns, or casks, of wine.
1.1A brewer’s fermenting vat.
Example sentences
  • The mixture goes through a series of vast tuns until it reaches the small oddly-shaped stills, which the family-run distillery retains to ensure consistency of the whisky.
  • The grain-water mixture will now be heated up and pumped to the lauter tun.
2An imperial measure of capacity, equal to 4 hogsheads.
Example sentences
  • The tun itself came to mean a specific size equal to four hogsheads or about 208 gallons.
3 (also tun shell) A large marine mollusc which has a rounded barrel-like shell with broad spirals.
  • Family Tonnidae, class Gastropoda.
Example sentences
  • Most tun shells can be found living in sand, in the tropics beyond the edge of the coral reef.
  • Tiny periwinkles, found in profusion in intertidal areas, are gastropods; as are giant tun shells from the deep waters and the quiet limpets who cling to rocks at low tide.
  • These tun shells have a large rounded body and are very lightweight for their size.

verb (tuns, tunning, tunned)

[with object] archaic
Store (wine or other alcoholic drinks) in a tun.


Old English tunne, from medieval Latin tunna, probably of Gaulish origin.

  • ton from Middle English:

    Ton is a variant of tun, both spellings being used for the container and the weight in the past. The senses were differentiated in the late 17th century, with tun limited to a ‘cask’. A ton was originally a term for the capacity for a ship, originally the volume of space occupied by a cask or wine. The metric tonne—1 000 kilograms—first appears in English in the late 19th century, adopted from French. A little ton was, in French, a tonel, source of the word tunnel (Late Middle English).

Words that rhyme with tun

begun, bun, done, Donne, dun, fine-spun, forerun, fun, gun, Gunn, hon, Hun, none, nun, one, one-to-one, outdone, outgun, outrun, plus-one, pun, run, shun, son, spun, stun, sun, ton, tonne, underdone, Verdun, won

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tun

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