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Origin of Tar Heel
Words nearby Tar Heel
BEHIND THE WORD
What is a Tar Heel?
A Tar Heel is a nickname for a resident of North Carolina. It’s also the name of the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) athletic teams, students, alums, etc.
How is Tar Heel pronounced?
[ tahr heel ]
Where does Tar Heel come from?
Historically, tar has been one of the major products of the state of North Carolina. The nickname Tar Heel is said to have begun as a derogatory term for poor people in North Carolina who worked with waterproofing-materials, such as rosin and tar, and ended up with tar on their heels.
During the Civil War, the term was used by some soldiers to deride soldiers from North Carolina. It was also during the war that North Carolinians began to embrace the term, referring to one another as Tar Heels as a point of pride. North Carolina Governor Zebulon Baird Vance visited the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia on March 28, 1864, and notably addressed fellow North Carolinians as Tar Heels. The term was adopted by other North Carolinians, and their state is now nicknamed the Tar Heel State.
Tar Heel was later adopted by the University of North Carolina for its athletic teams. UNC changed its team name from the White Phantoms to the Tar Heels in the 1920s. Tar Heels are represented by an icon of a foot, with a black spot at the heel. It’s not to be confused with the mascot of the University of North Carolina, Ramses the ram.
One of the most famous UNC Tar Heels is basketball legend Michael Jordan.
How is Tar Heel used in real life?
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) April 5, 2017
Wouldn’t trade this feeling for the world. I am a Tar Heel. pic.twitter.com/s4LKuXpZwM
— Chad Raines (@chad_rain) May 16, 2020
“Chicago” color blocking with the classic Tar Heel blue. *Chef's kiss*
— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) May 12, 2020
The hashtags #UNCTarheels, #Tarheels, #TarHeelNation, and #GoHeels are all common ways to refer to—and root for—UNC Tar Heels online.
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
How to use Tar Heel in a sentence
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|Jay Michaelson|December 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
His goal: to make the perfect (and absolutely comfortable) high-heel, with the help from Nike CEO Mark Parker.
The high heel has gone through endless aesthetic changes throughout the years.
The left heel followed like lightning, and the right paw also slipped, letting the bear again fall heavily on the ice below.The Giant of the North|R.M. Ballantyne
And with another bow the man from Paris drew himself erect, turned on his heel, and went jingling and creaking from the room.St. Martin's Summer|Rafael Sabatini
This is not the first time in history when the lack of a ha'porth of tar has spoilt the ship of State.
With which magnanimous sentiment he turned on his clumsy heel, and entered his apartment again.Checkmate|Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
He believes, he has an instinct, that here is the heel of the German Colossus, otherwise immune to our arrows.