Tanning Definition and Meaning

In order to know the meaning of the term tanning, it is necessary, in the first place, to discover its etymological origin. In this case, we can state that it is a word that derives from Latin, exactly from the verb “conterere”, which can be translated as “to wear down by rubbing”, “to peel something from its outer layer” or “to crush”.

The term has several uses according to the context.

The first meaning mentioned in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy ( RAE ) refers to the preparation and treatment given to the skin obtained from a dead animal in order to make use of it.

When tanning a skin, it becomes leather, making said skin no longer rot. Usually the skin is first cured with salt and pressed. Then it is washed and the hair is removed. Then comes the time for tanning, which can be carried out using a vegetable method or a mineral method.

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In the first case, the skin can be tanned with tannin, a substance from oak, quebracho, chestnut and other trees. If mineral tanning is preferred, chrome is used. Once the hide is tanned, it can be waxed, oiled and dyed.

In order to successfully tan the leather, a series of important recommendations must be taken into account, such as the following:

-The drying of the leather, once it has been washed, will take approximately one week and it is essential to make sure that it is well stretched, because the more it is stretched, the larger it will be in the end.

-When removing the hair you have to take into consideration that if it is very long, the first thing will be to cut it to be able to perform that function much more easily.

-It is essential that those who carry out the tanning of the skin use gloves at all times as well as protective glasses because they can use products that can be not only toxic but also corrosive.

-Regarding what the process of smoking the skin is, it must be taken into account that there are certain smokes that can bring about a specific result in terms of the color of the skin. Thus, the smoke of corn on the cob gives the skin a yellowish tone while the smoke of white pine contributes to making it acquire a black tone.

It is also called tanning what the air and the sun do to a person ‘s skin. For example: “I suggest you use a sunscreen since this outdoor work is going to tan your skin”, “My skin is tanned from walking on the beach so much”.

Curtir, on the other hand, is to get used to a difficulty or an adversity, strengthening oneself: “I think this experience is going to tan Mariano”, “I never thought that I would tan at this club, but he has already spent ten years in the institution and I am ready for any challenge. ”

In the popular or vulgar language of Argentina, finally, tanning can refer to having sexual relations or harming someone : “When the movie finished, we went to tan”, “I suspect that my partner wants to tan me, so I am going to be very attentive”.


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