- a protective covering of canvas or other material waterproofed with tar, paint, or wax.
- a hat, especially a sailor's, made of or covered with such material.
- Rare. a sailor.
Origin of tarpaulin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tarpaulin
On Tuesday, the group witnessed a convoy of 43 unmarked green military trucks with tarpaulin covers moving towards Donetsk.Thousands of Putin’s Troops Now in Ukraine, Analysts Say
November 11, 2014
When we were kids and some rain would come up, the fans would jump out of the stands to help spread the tarpaulin on the field.The Great Paul Hemphill Celebrates the Long Gone Birmingham Barons
March 29, 2014
Alina Vergana, 41, was sitting beneath a tarpaulin stretched to keep off the burning sun.Typhoon Haiyan: The Philippine Village that Lost Its Men
November 17, 2013
The loads, covered by the tarpaulin, had been arranged in the centre of the circle.
At camp Kingozi ordered them to place the loads in place beneath the tarpaulin.
I crawl in between the chairs and the wall and get under that piece of tarpaulin.
I could not control my anxiety as the steward got nearer and nearer the tarpaulin.
Is he a tarpaulin theologian—a divine among the tarry-breeks?'Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
- a heavy hard-wearing waterproof fabric made of canvas or similar material coated with tar, wax, or paint, for outdoor use as a protective covering against moisture
- a sheet of this fabric
- a hat of or covered with this fabric, esp a sailor's hat
- a rare word for seaman
C17: probably from tar 1 + pall 1 + -ing 1
Word Origin and History for tarpaulin
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper