Definition of tallow in English:



mass noun
  • A hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat, used (especially formerly) in making candles and soap.

    • ‘Grandmother had me on my feet for two hours, going through her entire supply of herbs, how to make teas, how to make tinctures, how to render tallow and add herbs to make salves.’
    • ‘From its large port, London regularly sent out vessels laden with animal hides, whale oil, tallow, dried fish and meats, fertiliser and wools.’
    • ‘After clothes and linens had been thoroughly rubbed and scrubbed using homemade soap made from beef tallow and lye (soap-making is another whole story), they were wrung out by hand and placed in a second tub to be rinsed.’
    • ‘They are against proposals to install two tanks for tallow - animal fat melted down - at Erlings Works, in Half Acre Road.’
    • ‘In its heyday 150 years ago, Tomki Station (10 km east of Casino) was a leading producer of tallow, which was used to make candles and soap.’
    • ‘In medieval times, Britain's abundant population of Wensleydale sheep produced milk for cheese, tallow for lighting and wool for cloth.’
    • ‘Robe supplied horses for the Indian Army and wool, tallow and sheepskins for Europe.’
    • ‘Basically it is fair to say that humans have been burning candles since someone figured out how to transform animal fat into tallow that would burn’
    • ‘In the spring, my two brothers and I made candles from tallow, tanned hides, and helped sheer the sheep.’
    • ‘Richer folk lit their homes with candles made from beeswax or whale oil, whilst poorer folk had to make do with smelly, smoky tallow candles made from animal fat.’
    • ‘This ingenious product has been analysed by officials and it contains such substances as beef tallow, vegetable materials and synthetic laboratory-sourced ingredients, but no trace of a cow in the chain.’
    • ‘If cheaper oils (such as used restaurant frying oil) or animal fats (beef tallow, pork lard or chicken fat) could be used, the cost would be dramatically reduced.’
    • ‘It was also used by the ancient Romans, as is evidenced by the writings of Pliny, who described a method for making soap by boiling goat tallow with alkali wood ashes.’
    • ‘The most common ingredient in a bar of soap is sodium tallowate - it is so named because it is made from animal fat, or tallow.’
    • ‘From tallow through beeswax to paraffin wax, candles have evolved quite as dramatically as the human kind.’
    • ‘For three years Fibrogen has burned meat, bonemeal and tallow rendered down from the carcasses of older cattle.’
    • ‘The prominence of animal fats, especially lard and tallow, has diminished substantially in recent years.’
    • ‘Coal was initially used to supply domestic heat and fuel; to heat pans of sea-water to produce salt, of fats to make tallow for soap and candles, or of molasses to refine sugar; and in forges to heat iron and other metals.’
    • ‘But tallow, an animal byproduct, is a highly efficient source of biofuel and is available in abundance in Ireland, the group has argued.’
    • ‘In Northern Europe and especially in Britain these plants do not grow so well so we have used animal fats and tallow.’


[with object]archaic
  • Smear (something, especially the bottom of a boat) with tallow.

    ‘I tallowed my boats with our candles’
    • ‘She was then tarred and/or tallowed and refit for sea.’
    • ‘Then, having taken in wood and water and tallowed the ship, the pirates stood across for the coast of Guinea with a pilot picked up at St. Thomas.’


Middle English: perhaps from Middle Low German; related to Dutch talk and German Talg.