See also: Tack and täck


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Etymology 1Edit

Tacks (small nails with flat heads)
Tacks (used to attach thin objects to thick ones, in this case a bulletin board)

From Middle English tak, takke (hook; staple; nail), from Old Northern French taque (nail, pin, peg), from Frankish *takkō, from Proto-Germanic *takkô (tip; point; protrusion; prong; tine; jag; spike; twig), of unknown origin, but possibly from Proto-Indo-European *dHgʰ-n-, from the root *déHgʰ- (to pinch; to tear, rip, fray). Cognate with Saterland Frisian Takke (bough; branch; twig), West Frisian takke (branch), tûk (branch, smart, sharp), Dutch tak (twig; branch; limb), German Zacke (jag; prong; spike; tooth; peak).

Alternative formsEdit


tack (countable and uncountable, plural tacks)

  1. A small nail with a flat head.
    Hyponym: thumbtack
    • 2012 July 15, Richard Williams, “Tour de France 2012: Carpet tacks cannot put Bradley Wiggins off track”, in The Guardian[1]:
      A tough test for even the strongest climber, it was new to the Tour de France this year, but its debut will be remembered for the wrong reasons after one of those spectators scattered carpet tacks on the road and induced around 30 punctures among the group of riders including Bradley Wiggins, the Tour's overall leader, and his chief rivals.
  2. A thumbtack.
  3. (sewing) A loose seam used to temporarily fasten pieces of cloth.
  4. (nautical) The lower corner on the leading edge of a sail relative to the direction of the wind.
  5. (nautical) A course or heading that enables a sailing vessel to head upwind.
  6. (figuratively) A direction or course of action, especially a new one.
    • 1612, Michael Drayton, chapter 11, in [John Selden], editor, Poly-Olbion. Or A Chorographicall Description of Tracts, Riuers, Mountaines, Forests, and Other Parts of this Renowned Isle of Great Britaine, [], London: [] H[umphrey] L[ownes] for Mathew Lownes; I. Browne; I. Helme; I. Busbie, published 1613, OCLC 1049089293:
      So stoutly held to tack by those near North-wales men;
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[V]”, in Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483:
      Maud Gonne’s letter about taking them off O’Connell street at night: disgrace to our Irish capital. Griffith’s paper is on the same tack now: an army rotten with venereal disease: overseas or halfseasover empire.
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 637:
      I thought that my refusing Barnard would alienate Botha, and decided that such a tack was too risky.
    • 2016 June 19, Mary Dejevsky, “Isolating Russia isn’t working. The west needs a new approach”, in The Guardian[2]:
      When even cautious German politicians are questioning Nato’s ‘war-mongering’ actions, it’s clear that a new tack is required
  7. (nautical) The maneuver by which a sailing vessel turns its bow through the wind so that the wind changes from one side to the other.
  8. (nautical) The distance a sailing vessel runs between these maneuvers when working to windward; a board.
  9. (nautical) A rope used to hold in place the foremost lower corners of the courses when the vessel is close-hauled; also, a rope employed to pull the lower corner of a studding sail to the boom.
  10. Any of the various equipment and accessories worn by horses in the course of their use as domesticated animals.
    Hyponyms: saddle, stirrup, bridle, halter
  11. (manufacturing, construction, chemistry) The stickiness of a compound, related to its cohesive and adhesive properties.
    The laminate adhesive has very aggressive tack and is hard to move once in place.
    • 1959, E. A. Apps, Printing Ink Technology (page 415)
      Letterpress and offset gloss varnishes normally have viscosities varying from 50 to 250 poises; they must stain the paper as little as possible, have insufficient tack to cause plucking, []
  12. Food generally; fare, especially of the bread kind.
  13. That which is attached; a supplement; an appendix.
  14. (obsolete) Confidence; reliance.
    • 1651-1666, Joseph Caryl, Exposition of Job with Practical Observations:
      He should find [] that there was tack in it, that it was solid silver, or silver that had strength in it.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English takken (to attach; nail), from the noun (see above).


tack (third-person singular simple present tacks, present participle tacking, simple past and past participle tacked)

  1. To nail with a tack (small nail with a flat head).
  2. To sew/stitch with a tack (loose seam used to temporarily fasten pieces of cloth).
  3. (nautical) To maneuver a sailing vessel so that its bow turns through the wind, i.e. the wind changes from one side of the vessel to the other.
    Synonym: change tack
    Antonym: wear
  4. To add something as an extra item.
    • 2012, James Lambert, “Beyond Hobson-Jobson: A new lexicography for Indian English”, in World Englishes[3], page 312:
      In short, they tend to present Indian English as nothing more than "standard" English with a select collection of lexical peculiarities tacked on, as it were, many of which would be regarded as "errors" by prescriptivist language scholars.
    to tack (something) onto (something)
  5. To place the tack on a horse; often paired with "up".
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Related termsEdit

See alsoEdit

Etymology 3Edit

From an old or dialectal form of French tache. See techy. Doublet of tache.


tack (plural tacks)

  1. A stain; a tache.
  2. (obsolete) A peculiar flavour or taint.
    a musty tack

Etymology 4Edit

Back-formation from tacky.


tack (uncountable)

  1. (colloquial) That which is tacky; something cheap and gaudy.
    • 2014, David Leffman, The Rough Guide to China:
      For souvenirs – mostly outright tack and ethnicky textiles – try your bargaining skills at the shops and stalls on Binjiang Luand Zhengyang Jie, or the nightly street market spreading for about a block either side of Shanhu Bridge along Zhongshan Lu.

Etymology 5Edit

From Middle English tak, take (fee, tax (on livestock)), from Old Norse tak, taka (a taking, seizure; revenue), from Old Norse taka (to take). Cognate with Scots tack.


tack (plural tacks)

  1. (law, Scotland and Northern England) A contract by which the use of a thing is set, or let, for hire; a lease.
    • 1885: The Crofter in History by Lord Colin Campbell
      In the Breadalbane papers, for example, there is a "tack" which was given by Sir John Campbell of Glenurchy to his "weil belouit" servant John M'Conoquhy V'Gregour, in the year 1530.


  • tack in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
  • tack at OneLook Dictionary Search



Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English tak, take, from Old Norse tak, taka (a taking, revenue).


tack (plural tacks)

  1. Lease, tenancy
  2. The period of such a contract
  3. A leasehold; especially, the tenure of a land or a farm.



From Old Norse þǫkk, from Proto-Germanic *þankō, *þankaz. Cognates include English thank, German Dank, Danish tak and Icelandic and Norwegian takk.




  1. thanks, please


tack n

  1. a thank; a word which shows gratitude


Declension of tack 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative tack tacket tack tacken
Genitive tacks tackets tacks tackens