1. Hard fat obtained from parts of the bodies of cattle or sheep, used in foodstuffs or to make leather dressing, soap, and lubricants, and formerly used to make candles.
2. Any of various similar fats, such as those obtained from plants.
tr.v. tal·lowed, tal·low·ing, tal·lows
1. To smear or cover with tallow.
2. To fatten (animals) in order to obtain tallow.
[Middle English talghe, talowe, either borrowed from Middle Low German talch or descended directly from Old English *tealg-, both ultimately from Proto-Germanic *talga-; probably akin to Gothic tulgus, firm, solid, and Old English tulge, firmly, very.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.