Definition of tun in English:


nounPlural tuns

  • 1A large beer or wine cask.

    • ‘As for size, the tonnage of ships in this period was reckoned literally in terms of capacity to carry tuns, or casks, of wine.’
    • ‘A few of us went into a wine-store where there was a large tun with a ladder to get to the top, in which was a hole about two feet square.’
    • ‘He gave the order for a tun of the local wine to be delivered by packman to the Earl's castle in late summer.’
    • ‘In 1347 he sold 3 tuns of wine to the King's Butler; while in 1349 he exported cloth.’
    • ‘The tuns, which have been in constant use since 1778, will then lie idle while the owners of Boddingtons decide what to do with the site.’
    1. 1.1 A brewer's fermenting vat.
      • ‘The grain-water mixture will now be heated up and pumped to the lauter tun.’
      • ‘The mixture goes through a series of vast tuns until it reaches the small oddly-shaped stills, which the family-run distillery retains to ensure consistency of the whisky.’
  • 2An imperial measure of capacity, equal to 4 hogsheads.

    • ‘The tun itself came to mean a specific size equal to four hogsheads or about 208 gallons.’
  • 3A large marine mollusc which has a rounded shell with broad spirals.

    Family Tonnidae, class Gastropoda

    • ‘Most tun shells can be found living in sand, in the tropics beyond the edge of the coral reef.’
    • ‘Tiny periwinkles, found in profusion in intertidal areas, are gastropods; as are giant tun shells from the deep waters and the quiet limpets who cling to rocks at low tide.’
    • ‘These tun shells have a large rounded body and are very lightweight for their size.’

verbtuns, tunning, tunned

[with object]archaic
  • Store (wine or other alcoholic drinks) in a tun.


Old English tunne, from medieval Latin tunna, probably of Gaulish origin.