Tartar

1
[tahr-ter]
|

noun

adjective

of or relating to a Tartar or Tartars; Tartarian.

Idioms

    catch a Tartar, to deal with someone or something that proves unexpectedly troublesome or powerful.Also catch a tartar.

Also Tatar (for defs 1, 2, 4, 5, 8).

Origin of Tartar

1
1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin Tartarus, perhaps variant of Tātārus (unattested) < Persian Tātār, by association with Tartarus; replacing Middle English Tartre < Middle French < Medieval Latin, as above

Related formsTar·tar·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for catch a tartar

tartar

1

noun

dentistry a hard crusty deposit on the teeth, consisting of food, cellular debris, and mineral salts
Also called: argol a brownish-red substance consisting mainly of potassium hydrogen tartrate, present in grape juice and deposited during the fermentation of wine

Word Origin for tartar

C14: from Medieval Latin tartarum, from Medieval Greek tartaron

tartar

2

noun

(sometimes capital) a fearsome or formidable person

Word Origin for tartar

C16: special use of Tartar

Tartar

noun, adjective

a variant spelling of Tatar
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for catch a tartar
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for catch a tartar

tartar

[tärtər]

n.

A hard, yellowish deposit on the teeth, consisting of organic secretions and food particles deposited in various salts, such as calcium carbonate.dental calculus

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for catch a tartar

tartar

[tärtər]

A hard yellowish deposit on the teeth, consisting of organic secretions and food particles deposited in various salts, such as calcium carbonate.
A reddish acid compound consisting of a tartrate of potassium, found in the juice of grapes and deposited on the sides of wine casks.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with catch a tartar

catch a Tartar

Seek out something or someone that turns out to be unexpectedly unpleasant or formidable, as in Now that she finally agreed to meet with you, you just might find that you've caught a Tartar. In this term, Tartar signifies a difficult or sometimes violent individual, referring to Turkic and Mongolian invaders of Asia in the Middle Ages. [Mid-1600s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.