9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[taw-nee] /ˈtɔ ni/
adjective, tawnier, tawniest.
of a dark yellowish or dull yellowish-brown color.
a shade of brown tinged with yellow; dull yellowish brown.
Origin of tawny
1350-1400; Middle English tauny < Anglo-French taune < Middle French tané, past participle of taner to tan1
Related forms
tawnily, adverb
tawniness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tawny
  • Usually a tawny-light brownish color, they may also be gray or reddish.
  • The next quality level, with more body and concentration, is tawny port.
  • tawny frogmouths blend in with tree bark and stumps while sleeping during the day.
  • There is a cruel, beautiful, tawny face with pursed lips and shifty eyes.
  • tawny owls and hen harriers swoop to the ground to grab mice or other small creatures for their next meal.
  • Coyote yelps ring from the shadows of a giant saguaro as brilliant sunlight slips down tawny mountain slopes.
  • Some vintage style and tawny ports are meant to be drunk chilled.
  • Few dessert wines equal wood-aged tawny port in inducing feelings of well-being.
  • Reflecting pools brimmed to overflowing, and already the tawny hills looked greener.
  • The whole facade works together as a tawny tapestry of the art of clay.
British Dictionary definitions for tawny


  1. a light brown to brownish-orange colour
  2. (as adjective): tawny port
Derived Forms
tawniness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French tané, from taner to tan1
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 tawny

"tan-colored," late 14c., from Anglo-French tauné "associated with the brownish-yellow of tanned leather," from Old French tané (12c.), past participle of taner "to tan hides," from Medieval Latin tannare (see tan).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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