tangerine (n.) Look up tangerine at Dictionary.com
1842, from tangerine orange (1820) "an orange from Tangier," seaport in northern Morocco, from which it was imported to Britain originally. As an adjective meaning "from Tangier," attested from 1710, probably from Spanish tangerino. As a color name, attested from 1899.
tangible (adj.) Look up tangible at Dictionary.com
1580s, "capable of being touched," from Middle French tangible and directly from Late Latin tangibilis "that may be touched," from Latin tangere "to touch" (see tangent (adj.)). Sense of "material" (as in tangible reward) is first recorded 1610s; that of "able to be realized or dealt with" is from 1709. Related: Tangibly.
Tangier Look up Tangier at Dictionary.com
port city of Morocco, Latin Tinge, said to be named for Tingis, daughter of Atlas, but probably from Semitic tigisis "harbor." In English often Tangiers, by influence of Algiers.
tangle (n.) Look up tangle at Dictionary.com
1610s, "a tangled condition, a snarl of threads," from tangle (v.).
tangle (v.) Look up tangle at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., nasalized variant of tagilen "to involve in a difficult situation, entangle," from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Swedish taggla "to disorder," Old Norse þongull "seaweed"), from Proto-Germanic *thangul- (cognates: Frisian tung, Dutch tang, German Tang "seaweed"); thus the original sense of the root evidently was "seaweed" as something that entangles (itself, or oars, or fishes, or nets). "The development of such a verb from a noun of limited use like tangle 1 is somewhat remarkable, and needs confirmation" [Century Dictionary]. In reference to material things, from c.1500. Meaning "to fight with" is American English, first recorded 1928. Related: Tangled; tangling. Tanglefoot (1859) was Western American English slang for "strong whiskey."
tango (n.) Look up tango at Dictionary.com
syncopated ballroom dance, 1913 (the year it became a rage in Britain and America), from Argentine Spanish tango, originally the name of an African-American drum dance, probably from a Niger-Congo language (compare Ibibio tamgu "to dance"). Phrase it takes two to tango was a song title from 1952. As a verb from 1913. Related: Tangoed.
It is hardly a year ago since the Tango reached this country from South America by way of Paris. It was at first no more than a music-hall freak. But some of those mysterious people who inspire new social fashions were attracted by its sinuous movements and the strange backward kick, and this year it made its way into private houses as well as public ball rooms. [The Living Age, Dec. 13, 1913]



"I need not describe the various horrors of American and South American negroid origin. I would only ask hostesses to let one know what houses to avoid by indicating in some way on their invitation cards whether the 'turkey-trot,' the 'Boston' (the beginner of the evil), and the 'tango' will be permitted." [quoted in "Current Opinion," October 1913, as from a letter to the London Times]
tangram (n.) Look up tangram at Dictionary.com
Chinese geometric puzzle, 1864, said to be an arbitrary formation based on anagram, etc. First element perhaps Chinese t'an "to extend," or t'ang, commonly used in Cantonese for "Chinese." Some suggest it is the name of the inventor, "but no such person is known to Chinese scholars" [OED]. Another theory involves the Tanka, an outcast aboriginal people of southern China, and Western sailors who discovered the puzzle from their Tanka girlfriends. Perhaps from an obscure sense of tram. The Chinese name is Ch'i ch'iao t'u "seven ingenious plan."
tangy (adj.) Look up tangy at Dictionary.com
1875, from tang + -y (2). Figurative use by 1948. Related: Tanginess.
tanist (n.) Look up tanist at Dictionary.com
"elected heir of a Celtic chief," 1530s, from Gaelic tanaiste "presumptive or apparent heir to a lord," literally "parallel, second," from Old Irish tanaise "designated successor," from Celtic *tani-hessio- "one who is waited for."
tank (n.) Look up tank at Dictionary.com
1610s, "pool or lake for irrigation or drinking water," a word originally brought by the Portuguese from India, from a Hindi source, such as Gujarati tankh "cistern, underground reservoir for water," Marathi tanken, or tanka "reservoir of water, tank." Perhaps ultimately from Sanskrit tadaga-m "pond, lake pool," and reinforced in later sense of "large artificial container for liquid" (1680s) by Portuguese tanque "reservoir," from estancar "hold back a current of water," from Vulgar Latin *stanticare (see stanch). But other sources say the Portuguese word is the source of the Indian ones. Meaning "fuel container" is recorded from 1902. Slang meaning "detention cell" is from 1912. Railroad tank-car is from 1874.

In military use, "armored, gun-mounted vehicle moving on continuous articulated tracks," the word originated late 1915. In "Tanks in the Great War" [1920], Brevet Col. J.F.C. Fuller quotes a memorandum of the Committee of Imperial Defence dated Dec. 24, 1915, recommending the proposed "caterpillar machine-gun destroyer" machines be entrusted to an organization "which, for secrecy, shall be called the 'Tank Supply Committee,' ..." In a footnote, Fuller writes, "This is the first appearance of the word 'tank' in the history of the machine." He writes that "cistern" and "reservoir" also were put forth as possible cover names, "all of which were applicable to the steel-like structure of the machines in the early stages of manufacture. Because it was less clumsy and monosyllabic, the name 'tank' was decided on." They were first used in action at Pozieres ridge, on the Western Front, Sept. 15, 1916, and the name was quickly picked up by the soldiers. Tank-trap attested from 1920.
tank (v.) Look up tank at Dictionary.com
1900, "to put into a tank," from tank (n.). Meaning "to lose or fail" attested from 1976, originally in tennis jargon, specifically in an interview with Billie Jean King in "Life" magazine, Sept. 22, 1967:
"When our men don't feel like trying," she says, "They 'tank' [give up]. I never tanked a match in my life and I never saw a girl do it. The men do it all the time in minor tournaments when they don't feel like hustling. You have to be horribly competitive to win in big-time tennis."
Sometimes said to be from boxing, in some sense, perhaps from the notion of "taking a dive," but evidence for this is wanting. Related: Tanked; tanking. Adjective tanked "drunk" is from 1893.
tank top (n.) Look up tank top at Dictionary.com
1968, from tank suit "one-piece bathing costume" (1920s), so called because it was worn in a swimming tank (n.), i.e. pool.
tanka (n.) Look up tanka at Dictionary.com
type of Japanese poem, 1877, from Japanese tanka, from tan "short" + ka "song."
tankard (n.) Look up tankard at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "large tub-like vessel," corresponding to Middle Dutch tanckaert, meaning the same thing, but both of unknown origin. A guess hazarded in OED is that it is a transposition of *kantard, from Latin cantharus. Klein suggests French tant quart "as much as a quarter." "The notion that the word is from tank 1 + -ard is wholly untenable" [Century Dictionary]. Meaning "drinking vessel" is first recorded late 15c.
tanker (n.) Look up tanker at Dictionary.com
"ship for carrying oil or other liquid cargo," 1900, from tank (n.).
tanner (n.2) Look up tanner at Dictionary.com
"sixpence," slang word first recorded 1811, of unknown origin. J.C. Hotten, lexicographer of Victorian slang, thinks it may be from tanner and skin, rhyming slang for "thin," presumably in reference to the smallness of the coin. Not to be confused with tenner, slang for "ten-pound note," which dates from 1861.
tanner (n.1) Look up tanner at Dictionary.com
"one who tans leather," Old English tannere, agent noun from tannian (see tan (v.)).
tannery (n.) Look up tannery at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "process of tanning," from Old French tannerie (13c.) or a native formation from tan (v.) + -ery. Meaning "place where tanning is done" is from 1736, perhaps from tanner (n.1) + -y (2).
tannin (n.) Look up tannin at Dictionary.com
"tannic acid, vegetable substance capable of converting animal hide to leather," 1802, from French tannin (1798), from tan "crushed oak bark containing tannin" (see tan (v.)). Tannic acid first recorded 1836, from French acide tannique, inroduced 1834 by French chemist Théophile-Jules Pelouze (1807-1867).
tanning (n.) Look up tanning at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "process of tanning leather," verbal noun from tan (v.). Intransitive sense "process of getting suntan" is from 1944.
tansy (n.) Look up tansy at Dictionary.com
perennial herb native to northern Eurasia, mid-13c., from Old French tanesie (13c., Modern French tanaisie), from Vulgar Latin *tanaceta (neuter plural mistaken for fem. singular), from Late Latin tanacetum "wormwood," from shortened form of Greek athanasia "immortality," from athanatos "immortal," from a- "not," privative prefix, + thanatos "death" (see thanatology). So called probably for its persistence. English folklore associates it with pregnancy, either as an aid to contraception or to provoke miscarriage.
tantalise (v.) Look up tantalise at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English spelling of tantalize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Tantalised; tantalising.
tantalize (v.) Look up tantalize at Dictionary.com
1590s, with -ize + Latin Tantalus, from Greek Tantalos, king of Phrygia, son of Zeus, father of Pelops and Niobe, punished in the afterlife (for an offense variously given) by being made to stand in a river up to his chin, under branches laden with fruit, all of which withdrew from his reach whenever he tried to eat or drink. His story was known to Chaucer (c.1369). Related: Tantalized; tantalizing; tantalizingly; tantalization.
tantalizing (adj.) Look up tantalizing at Dictionary.com
mid-17c., present participle adjective from tantalize. Related: Tantalizingly.
tantalum (n.) Look up tantalum at Dictionary.com
metallic element, 1809, Modern Latin, named 1802 by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Anders Ekberg (1767-1813), for Tantalus, according to Ekberg partly because of its inability to absorb acid recalled Tantalus' punishment in the afterlife (see tantalize). Sometimes it is said to be so called from the difficulty scientists faced in obtaining a pure specimen.
Tantalus Look up Tantalus at Dictionary.com
Greek Tantalos, king of Phrygia, perhaps literally "the Bearer" or "the Sufferer," by dissimilation from *tal-talos, a reduplication of PIE root *tele- "to bear, carry, support" (see extol), in reference to his long endurance, but Watkins finds this "unlikely." Compare tantalize.
tantamount (adj.) Look up tantamount at Dictionary.com
1640s, from verbal phrase tant amount "be equivalent" (1620s), from Anglo-French tant amunter "amount to as much" (late 13c.), from Old French tant "as much" (11c., from Latin tantus, from tam "so;" see tandem) + amonter "amount to, go up" (see amount (v.)).
tantra (n.) Look up tantra at Dictionary.com
type of Hindu religious book, 1799, from Sanskrit tantram, literally "loom, warp," hence, figuratively, "groundwork, system, doctrine," from tan "to stretch, extend," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch, extend" (see tenet).
tantric (adj.) Look up tantric at Dictionary.com
1905, from tantra + -ic; used loosely in the West to denote erotic spiritualism.
tantrum (n.) Look up tantrum at Dictionary.com
1714, tanterum, originally colloquial, of unknown origin.
Tanzania Look up Tanzania at Dictionary.com
east African nation, formed 1964 by union of Tanganyika (named for the lake, the name of which is of unknown origin) and Zanzibar. With country-name word-forming element -ia. Related: Tanzanian.
tanzanite (n.) Look up tanzanite at Dictionary.com
violet-blue gemstone, 1968, named by Henry B. Platt, vice president of Tiffany & Co., because the stone was discovered in the African nation of Tanzania.
tao (n.) Look up tao at Dictionary.com
1736, from Chinese tao "way, path, right way (of life), reason."
Taoism (n.) Look up Taoism at Dictionary.com
religious system founded by Lao Tzu (b. 604 B.C.E.), 1838, from Chinese tao "way, path, right way (of life), reason" + -ism.
tap (v.1) Look up tap at Dictionary.com
"strike lightly," c.1200, from Old French taper "tap, rap, strike" (12c.), from a Gallo-Roman or Germanic source ultimately imitative of the sound of rapping. Meaning "to designate for some duty or for membership" is recorded from 1952, from notion of a tap on the shoulder. Related: Tapped; tapping.
tap (n.2) Look up tap at Dictionary.com
"light blow or stroke," mid-14c., from tap (v.1). Tap dancer first recorded 1927, from tap (n.) in the sense of "metal plate over the heel of a shoe" (1680s).
tap (n.1) Look up tap at Dictionary.com
"stopper, faucet through which liquid can be drawn," Old English tæppa "tap, spigot," from Proto-Germanic *tappon (cognates: Middle Dutch tappe, Dutch tap, Old High German zapfo, German Zapfe). Originally a tapering cylindrical peg for a cask, then a hollowed one to draw from it (compare sense evolution of spigot). Phrase on tap "ready for use, ready to be drawn and served" is recorded from late 15c. Tap-wrench, used in turning one, attested from 1815.
tap (v.2) Look up tap at Dictionary.com
"to supply with a tap," late Old English tæppian, from source of tap (n.1); compare German zapfen "to tap." Meaning "to draw liquor with a tap" is from mid-15c. Extended sense "make use of" is first recorded 1570s. Meaning "listen in secretly" (1869), originally was with reference to telegraph wires. Tapped out "broke" is 1940s slang, perhaps from the notion of having tapped all one's acquaintances for loans already (compare British slang on the tap "begging, making requests for loans," 1932).
tap (n.3) Look up tap at Dictionary.com
"device to listen in secretly on telephone calls," 1923, from tap (v.2) in the "listen secretly" sense.
tape (n.) Look up tape at Dictionary.com
Old English tæppe "narrow strip of cloth used for tying, measuring, etc.," of uncertain origin; perhaps [Klein] a back-formation from Latin tapete "cloth, carpet," compare also Old Frisian tapia, Middle Low German tapen "to pull, pluck, tear." The original short vowel became long in Middle English.

Adhesive tape is from 1885; also in early use sometimes friction tape. Tape recorder "device for recording sound on magnetic tape" first attested 1932; from earlier meaning "device for recording data on ticker tape" (1892), from tape in the sense of "paper strip of a printer" (1884). Tape-record (v.) is from 1950. Tape-measure is attested from 1873; tape-delay is from 1968.
tape (v.) Look up tape at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "furnish with tape," from tape (n.). Meaning "attach with adhesive tape" is from 1932; meaning "to make a tape recording" is from 1950. Related: Taped; taping.
tapenade (n.) Look up tapenade at Dictionary.com
Provençal dish made of black olives, etc., 1952, from French tapénade, from Provençal tapéno "capers."
taper (n.) Look up taper at Dictionary.com
Old English tapur, taper "candle, lamp-wick," not found outside English, possibly a dissimilated borrowing from Latin papyrus (see papyrus), which was used in Medieval Latin and some Romance languages for "wick of a candle" (such as Italian papijo "wick"), because these often were made from the pith of papyrus. Compare also German kerze "candle," from Old High German charza, from Latin charta, from Greek khartes "papyrus, roll made from papyrus, wick made from pith of papyrus."
taper (v.) Look up taper at Dictionary.com
1580s, "shoot up like a flame or spire," via an obsolete adjective taper, from taper (n.), on the notion of the converging form of the flame of a candle. Sense of "become slender, gradually grow less in size, force, etc." first recorded c.1600. Transitive sense from 1670s. Related: Tapered; tapering.
tapestry (n.) Look up tapestry at Dictionary.com
late 14c., tapiestre, with unetymological -t-, from Old French tapisserie "tapestry" (14c.), from tapisser "to cover with heavy fabric," from tapis "heavy fabric, carpet," from tapiz "carpet, floor covering" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *tappetium, from Byzantine Greek tapetion, from classical Greek, diminutive of tapes (genitive tapetos) "heavy fabric, carpet, rug," from an Iranian source (compare Persian taftan "to turn, twist"), from PIE *temp- "to stretch." The figurative use is first recorded 1580s.
tapetum (n.) Look up tapetum at Dictionary.com
of the eye, 1713, from Medieval Latin tapetum, from Latin tapete, collateral form of tapes "carpet, heavy cloth with inwrought figures" (see tapestry).
tapeworm (n.) Look up tapeworm at Dictionary.com
1705, from tape (n.) + worm (n.); so called for its ribbon-like shape.
taphouse (n.) Look up taphouse at Dictionary.com
also tap-house, c.1500, from tap (n.1) + house (n.).
tapioca (n.) Look up tapioca at Dictionary.com
1640s, tipiaca, from Portuguese or Spanish tapioca, from Tupi (Brazil) tipioca "juice of a pressed cassava," from tipi "residue, dregs" + og, ok "to squeeze out" (from roots of the cassava plant).
tapir (n.) Look up tapir at Dictionary.com
1774, perhaps via French tapir (16c.), ultimately from Tupi (Brazil) tapira.