Tar



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.
a sailor.
Contemporary Examples

In other words, critics of selective BDS may wish to tar those kinds of liberal Zionists with the BDS brush.
Yoffie’s Red Lines and Selective BDS Mira Sucharov May 20, 2013

The sun is setting as we pass over the open mines of the tar sands.
Our Trip to The Climate War’s Ground Zero Darren Aronofsky September 18, 2014

The engineering company Moretrench is currently testing a 500-feet-deep barrier for tar sands excavation in Alberta.
Fukushima N-Plant Will Be Surrounded by a Wall of Ice Josh Dzieza September 3, 2013

The Canadian tar sand deposits exist under an area of forest and wetland the size of Florida.
Our Trip to The Climate War’s Ground Zero Darren Aronofsky September 18, 2014

The tar Heel State got pummeled with nearly the full force of the storm and experienced more deaths than any other state so far.
Irene Political Report Card David A. Graham August 28, 2011

Historical Examples

The three letters t, r and a mean very different things according to whether they are put together as art, tar or rat.
Creative Chemistry Edwin E. Slosson

The tar and feather proposal seemed to meet with general favor.
Tom Swift and his Electric Runabout Victor Appleton

A group of ex-service men, members of the Brigade, had been hired to seize the prophet and treat him to a tar and feathering.
They Call Me Carpenter Upton Sinclair

And this thing began to flow along the rods, much as tar flows.
Astounding Stories of Super-Science, August 1930 Various

No,—I think a coat of tar and feathers would be about the thing for Joe; he’s the sort of bird to wear that kind of plumage.
The Just and the Unjust Vaughan Kester

noun
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
verb (transitive) tars, tarring, tarred
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
noun
an informal word for seaman
n.

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.
v.

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.
tar
(tär)

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.

verb phrase

To lose all one’s money, esp in a gambling game: ”It’s tapping me out,” he says

[1940s+ Gambling; perhaps fr having tapped everyone available for a loan and found none]
file format
(“Tape ARchive”, following ar) Unix’s general purpose archive utility and the file format it uses. Tar was originally intended for use with magnetic tape but, though it has several command line options related to tape, it is now used more often for packaging files together on other media, e.g. for distribution via the Internet.
The resulting archive, a “tar file” (humourously, “tarball”) is often compressed, using gzip or some other form of compression (see tar and feather).
There is a GNU version of tar called gnutar with several improvements over the standard versions.
Filename extension: .tar
MIME type: unregistered, but commonly application/x-tar
Unix manual page: tar(1).
Compare shar, zip.
(1998-05-02)
In addition to the idiom beginning with tar

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