Definition of tampon in English:



  • 1A plug of soft material inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood.

    • ‘When you're ready to insert the tampon into your vagina, it might be easier to sit down rather than stand up.’
    • ‘The pain was so bad at first that inserting a tampon would make me cry from the pain.’
    • ‘Women who are having a pelvic scan may be asked to insert a tampon beforehand.’
    • ‘Well, the idea of pushing a tampon into your vagina to soak up the flow seems totally gross at first.’
    • ‘But why, in a country with a public healthcare system free and accessible to all, do we still have to pay for tampons, towels or whatever menstrual product we choose to control our flow.’
    • ‘There are more than just environmental reasons to switch from pads and tampons to using more sustainable and natural menstrual resources.’
    • ‘They aspire to provide other women with information about choices surrounding menstrual health, especially about alternatives to commercial pads and tampons.’
    • ‘Only two years prior I had to draw a diagram for her explaining how to insert a tampon!’
    • ‘Because the muscles of the vagina can become tense when a girl is nervous, it can be difficult to insert a tampon at first.’
    • ‘The impending Goods and Services Tax has Australian women riled: while exceptions to the tax will be made for necessities such as sunscreen, incontinence pads and condoms, tampons and menstrual pads will be taxed.’
    • ‘Throw away personal items, such as tissues, menstrual pads, and tampons in a paper bag.’
    • ‘The synthetic materials used in tampons, such as rayon (bleached by chlorine), contain carcinogenic substances like dioxin, and have been known to cause toxic shock syndrome.’
    • ‘It's easiest to insert a tampon when your flow is heaviest, like the first three days of your period, because you're more lubricated.’
    • ‘You can definitely swim when you're menstruating, as long as you're wearing a tampon.’
    • ‘High absorbency tampons left in the vagina for a long time have been associated with a dangerous illness called toxic shock syndrome.’
    • ‘I was totally freaked out about it because I had never used a tampon before and didn't know how to insert it.’
    • ‘But, thankfully, you only need to deal with pads and tampons during the days you actually have blood flow.’
    • ‘Because staphylococcus bacteria are often carried on dirty hands, it's important to wash your hands thoroughly before and after inserting a tampon.’
    • ‘Come and learn all the different options women have besides tampons and how to make your own reusable pads.’
    • ‘I wasn't sure that I really wanted to know how these things work, but my box of applicator tampons came with a set of full-colour instructions on proper insertion, and I certainly found out.’
  • 2Medicine
    A plug of material used to stop a wound or block an opening in the body and absorb blood or secretions.

    • ‘The nasal tampon, drawing experience from the advantages of synthetic sponge is chemically pure (vinylic polymer), biocompatible, anallergic and non cytotoxic’
    • ‘It is common use that medicated tampons may be applied to a specific body area.’
    • ‘After the nasal tampon has been inserted, wetting it with a small amount of topical vasoconstrictor may hasten effectiveness.’
    • ‘The procedure consists of inserting tampons of sterile gauze inside the nasal cavities of the patient, by using surgical forceps.’


[with object]
  • Plug with a tampon.

    • ‘A woman's fertility or lack thereof may be relevant in the bedroom, but it is in the bathroom that she is most keenly aware of it, whether tamponing herself or holding a pregnancy test in a ‘steady stream’ of pee.’
    • ‘The splinter could not be extracted, and the liver was tamponed and drained.’


Mid 19th century: from French, nasalized variant of tapon ‘plug, stopper’, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to tap.