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[tal-oh] /ˈtæl oʊ/
the fatty tissue or suet of animals.
the harder fat of sheep, cattle, etc., separated by melting from the fibrous and membranous matter naturally mixed with it, and used to make candles, soap, etc.
any of various similar fatty substances:
vegetable tallow.
verb (used with object)
to smear with tallow.
Origin of tallow
1300-50; Middle English talow, talgh; cognate with German Talg
Related forms
untallowed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tallow
Historical Examples
  • Here an appetizing supper had been laid ready upon the table and a couple of tallow candles burned in pewter sconces.

    The Laughing Cavalier Baroness Orczy
  • Gott it aboard and hove down one Side and paid it with tallow.

  • Then the door was opened by an elderly, timid-looking woman, who held a tallow candle above her head.

    The Peace Egg and Other tales Juliana Horatia Ewing
  • Its meat was perfectly white, and tasted like a tallow candle.

    Tales of the Malayan Coast Rounsevelle Wildman
  • They buzz around its white arc-light, or tallow dip, like heedless moths bent on their own destruction.

    One Woman's Life Robert Herrick
  • As poor as the tallow chandler was, he was hospitable on that day.

    True to His Home Hezekiah Butterworth
  • The door slowly opened, and a man bearing a tallow dip in a battered sconce showed himself in the entry.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
  • His successor in the tallow shop does not seem to have been more happy than he.

    True to His Home Hezekiah Butterworth
  • A high percentage of cocoanut oil is usually used together with tallow and grease.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • On a banister post stood a tallow candle which guttered in the draft.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
British Dictionary definitions for tallow


a fatty substance consisting of a mixture of glycerides, including stearic, palmitic, and oleic acids and extracted chiefly from the suet of sheep and cattle: used for making soap, candles, food, etc
(transitive) to cover or smear with tallow
Derived Forms
tallowy, adjective
Word Origin
Old English tælg, a dye; related to Middle Low German talch tallow, Dutch talk, Icelandic tólg
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tallow

mid-14c., talwgh, from a form cognate with Middle Low German talg "tallow," Middle Dutch talch, from Proto-Germanic *talga-, meaning perhaps originally "firm, compact material" (cf. Gothic tulgus "firm, solid").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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