One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Make (hide) into leather without the use of tannin, especially by soaking it in a solution of alum and salt.
- ‘These skins are both tanned and tawed, the principal tanning agent being the mimosa bark.’
Old English tawian ‘prepare raw material for use or further processing’, of Germanic origin; related to tool.
1A large marble.
- ‘Both players try to shoot their taws into a one-foot hole.’
- 1.1 A game of marbles.
- ‘Marbles or taws were usually played along the gutters, much to the annoyance of parents.’
- ‘In the early 1800s, children at Leavening played football, trap ball, tap and taw, shinnow and cricket.’
- 1.2 A line from which players throw marbles.
- ‘In some games you shoot from behind a taw.’
Early 18th century: of unknown origin.
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