As stated below, the tang is the part of a sword blade which is inside of the handle. Here are some examples of the several types of tangs:

Full Tang: The whole handle is the tang, with handle scales attached to the sides.

Half Tang: Half of the handle is the tang.

Push Tang: The tang is pushed into the handle and is fixed in place.

Encapsulated Tang: The handle is molded around the tang.

Rat-Tail Tang: The blade is secured to the handle by a bolt or threaded pommel.

The only decent tang in a real sword is the full rat-tail tang. A sword with a half tang will most likely have its handle snap when doing anything with it other than holding, and a full tang without the rat-tail means the hilt cannot be removed to inspect and clean the tang. Note: Some swords are designed to only have a half-tang, such as the Japanese katanas and family. However these tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

A rat-tail tang, one which has a pommel attached to the end, means the entire handle can be removed, allowing the owner to oil both the blade and the tang. (A sword is no good if the tang rusts).

If you are buying a sword, ensure it has a full tang, and it is best to have a pommel that allows the handle to be removed.

Tang (tang), n. [Of Scand. origin; cf. Dan. tang seaweed, Sw. tång, Icel. þang. Cf. Tangle.] (Bot.)

A coarse blackish seaweed (Fuscus nodosus). Dr. Prior.

Tang sparrow (Zoöl.), the rock pipit. [Prov. Eng.]


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Tang, n. [Probably fr. OD. tanger sharp, tart, literally, pinching; akin to E. tongs. √59. See Tong.]


A strong or offensive taste; especially, a taste of something extraneous to the thing itself; as, wine or cider has a tang of the cask.


Fig.: A sharp, specific flavor or tinge. Cf. Tang a twang.

Such proceedings had a strong tang of tyranny.

A cant of philosophism, and a tang of party politics.

3. [Probably of Scand. origin; cf. Icel. tangi a projecting point; akin to E. tongs. See Tongs.]

A projecting part of an object by means of which it is secured to a handle, or to some other part; anything resembling a tongue in form or position. Specifically: --


The part of a knife, fork, file, or other small instrument, which is inserted into the handle.


The projecting part of the breech of a musket barrel, by which the barrel is secured to the stock.


The part of a sword blade to which the handle is fastened.


The tongue of a buckle. [Prov. Eng.]


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Tang, n. [Of imitative origin. Cf. Twang. This word has become confused with tang tatse, flavor.]

A sharp, twanging sound; an unpleasant tone; a twang.


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Tang, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Tanged (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Tanging.]

To cause to ring or sound loudly; to ring.

Let thy tongue tang arguments of state.

To tang bees, to cause a swarm of bees to settle, by beating metal to make a din.


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Tang, v. i.

To make a ringing sound; to ring.

Let thy tongue tang arguments of state.


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Tang (täng), n. [Chin. T'ang.]

A dynasty in Chinese history, from a. d. 618 to 905, distinguished by the founding of the Imperial Academy (the Hanlin), by the invention of printing, and as marking a golden age of literature.


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