1) Initially a colour which is described as ‘brown, with a preponderance of yellow or orange’ (OED). It came to be used frequently of cloth which had that colour.

1341 lego Agneti … tunicam meam de tawne, York

1395 ‘10 ells of Tawne’, York

1493-4 Item sol. pro xij virgis panni coloris de tawne pro vestura choristarum, Ripon

1517 meam nigram togam duplicatam cum le tawne sarcynet, Rudby. The modern form of the word may date from the early sixteenth century: 1504 oon tawney gowne, Ripon

1526 a tawney jackett, Halifax

c.1537 certen remanents of tawny … a pece of tawny chamlett, Halifax.

spellings tawny
dates 1341 1395 1493-1494 1504 1517 1526 1537

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