Last modified on 25 May 2014, at 19:34
See also: Tarn


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From Old Norse tjǫrn (a small mountain lake without tributaries). Cognate with Norwegian tjern (small forest or mountain lake)



A tarn in the Lake District

tarn (plural tarns)

  1. (Northern England) A small mountain lake, especially in Northern England.
    • 1839, Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher, Project Gutenberg (1997), 1,
      It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down—but with a shudder even more thrilling than before—upon the remodelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.



  • tarn” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).