tar baby

or tar·ba·by

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noun

a situation, problem, or the like, that is almost impossible to solve or to break away from.

Origin of tar baby

after the tar doll used to trap Brer Rabbit in an Uncle Remus story (1881) of Joel Chandler Harris
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tar baby

Contemporary Examples of tar baby

  • In any case, Mofaz appears to have hit the tar-baby between the eyes.

    The Daily Beast logo
    You Missed It, Mofaz

    Bernard Avishai

    July 9, 2012

Historical Examples of tar baby