- any of various dark-colored viscid products obtained by the destructive distillation of certain organic substances, as coal or wood.
- coal-tar pitch.
- smoke solids or components: cigarette tar.
- to smear or cover with or as if with tar.
- of or characteristic of tar.
- covered or smeared with tar; tarred.
- beat/knock/whale the tar out of, Informal. to beat mercilessly: The thief had knocked the tar out of the old man and left him for dead.
- tar and feather,
- to coat (a person) with tar and feathers as a punishment or humiliation.
- to punish severely: She should be tarred and feathered for what she has done.
- tarred with the same brush, possessing the same shortcomings or guilty of the same misdeeds: The whole family is tarred with the same brush.
Origin of tar1
- a sailor.
Origin of tar2
SynonymsSee more synonyms for tar on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tar
The State Department found that with high oil prices, the tar sands would be mined for oil, pipeline or no.
Pulling oil from the tar sands is costly, even more so when you tack transportation costs on top.
Therefore, we should—you guessed it—develop the Canadian tar sands and build the Keystone pipeline.How Canadian Oilmen Pinkwash the Keystone Pipeline
December 28, 2014
It would transport bitumen and liquefied natural gas drawn from the tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast, mainly in Texas.The Pipeline From Hell: There’s No Good Reason to Build Keystone XL
November 15, 2014
The sun is setting as we pass over the open mines of the tar sands.Our Trip to The Climate War's Ground Zero
September 19, 2014
The tar and feather proposal seemed to meet with general favor.Tom Swift and his Electric Runabout
The salts and more active spirits of tar are got by infusion in cold water; but the resinous part is not to be dissolved thereby.
Tar water is strongly recommended, and also the smoking of the dried leaves of stramonium, commonly called the thorn-apple.
Brown paper should never be used with baked dishes; the pitch and tar which it contains will give the meat a smoky bad taste.
"I wonder when they'll learn wisdom and tar the roads," was his comment.Howards End
E. M. Forster
- any of various dark viscid substances obtained by the destructive distillation of organic matter such as coal, wood, or peat
- another name for coal tar
- to coat with tar
- tar and feather to punish by smearing tar and feathers over (someone)
- tarred with the same brush regarded as having the same faults
- an informal word for seaman
Word Origin and History for tar
a viscous liquid, Old English teoru, teru, literally "the pitch of (certain kinds of) trees," from Proto-Germanic *terwo- (cf. Old Norse tjara, Old Frisian tera, Middle Dutch tar, Dutch teer, German Teer), probably a derivation of *trewo-, from PIE *drew- "tree" (cf. Sanskrit daru "wood;" Lithuanian darva "pine wood;" Greek dory "beam, shaft of a spear," drys "tree, oak;" Gothic triu, Old English treow "tree;" see tree).
Tar baby is from an 1881 "Uncle Remus" story by Joel Chandler Harris. Tarheel for "North Carolina resident" first recorded 1864, probably from the gummy resin of pine woods. Tar water, an infusion of tar in cold water, was popular as a remedy from c.1740 through late 18c.
"sailor," 1670s, probably a special use of tar (n.1), which was a staple for waterproofing aboard old ships (sailors also being jocularly called knights of the tarbrush); or possibly a shortened form of tarpaulin, which was recorded as a nickname for a sailor in 1640s, from the tarpaulin garments they wore.
in tar and feather, 1769. A mob action in U.S. in Revolutionary times and several decades thereafter. Originally it had been imposed by an ordinance of Richard I (1189) as punishment in the navy for theft. Among other applications over the years was its use in 1623 by a bishop on "a party of incontinent friars and nuns" [OED], but not until 1769 was the verbal phrase attested. Related: Tarred; tarring.
- A dark, oily, viscous material, consisting mainly of hydrocarbons, produced by the destructive distillation of organic substances such as wood, coal, or peat.
- See coal tar.
- A solid, sticky substance that remains when tobacco is burned. It accumulates in the lungs of smokers and is considered carcinogenic.
Idioms and Phrases with tar
In addition to the idiom beginning with tar
- tar and feather
- beat the living daylights (tar) out of