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"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.
late Old English tannian "to convert hide into leather" (by steeping it in tannin), from Medieval Latin tannare "tan, dye, a tawny color" (c.900), from tannum "crushed oak bark," used in tanning leather, probably from a Celtic source (e.g. Breton tann "oak tree"). The meaning "make brown by exposure to the sun" first recorded 1520s. To tan (someone's) hide in the figurative sense is from 1660s. Related: Tanned; tanning.
"bronze color imparted to skin by exposure to sun," 1749, see tan (v.). As a simple name for a brownish color, in any context, it is recorded from 1888. The adjective tan "of the color of tanned leather" is recorded from 1660s.
Abbreviation of tangent