from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A type of paper-thin tin plate.
  • n. Tinfoil used as a backing for mirrors.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Thin tin plate
  • n. Tin foil for mirrors.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Thin tin plate; also, tin foil for mirrors.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A thin plate; a tagger; tin-foil for mirrors.


French, alteration of étain, tin, from Late Latin stannum; see stannic.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English tein, teyne; compare Icelandic teinn a twig. (Wiktionary)



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  • Also teyne.

    January 12, 2016

  • Nice citation - and what a great word! It was new to me.

    December 22, 2008

  • "The sidewalks were gray and uneven, and the sky looked like a mirror without a tain, the place where everything should have been reflected but where, in the end, nothing was."
    -"Meeting with Enrique Lihn" by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews, in the New Yorker, Dec 22 and 29, 2008, pp 80-81

    December 22, 2008