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Tar Heel

a native or inhabitant of North Carolina (used as a nickname).
Origin of Tar Heel
An Americanism dating back to 1860-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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A native or resident of North Carolina

[1864+; origin uncertain; perhaps fr the gummy resins of the pine barrens, which would cling to their feet; perhaps because a North Carolina unit that lost a hilltop position in the Civil War was jestingly told they had not tarred their heels to make them stick]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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