follow Dictionary.com

How do you spell Hannukah?

tar1

[tahr] /tɑr/
noun
1.
any of various dark-colored viscid products obtained by the destructive distillation of certain organic substances, as coal or wood.
2.
coal-tar pitch.
3.
smoke solids or components:
cigarette tar.
verb (used with object), tarred, tarring.
4.
to smear or cover with or as if with tar.
adjective
5.
of or characteristic of tar.
6.
covered or smeared with tar; tarred.
Idioms
7.
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.
8.
tar and feather,
  1. to coat (a person) with tar and feathers as a punishment or humiliation.
  2. to punish severely:
    She should be tarred and feathered for what she has done.
9.
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
900
before 900; (noun) Middle English tarr(e), ter(re), Old English teru; cognate with Dutch, German teer, Old Norse tjara; akin to tree; (v.) Middle English terren, Old English tierwian, derivative of the noun
Related forms
nontarred, adjective
untarred, adjective

tar2

[tahr] /tɑr/
noun, Informal.
1.
a sailor.
Origin
1740-50; perhaps short for tarpaulin
Synonyms
seafarer, gob. See sailor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for tar
  • It also contains considerably larger amounts of tar and nicotine.
  • It was boiled in great caldrons, together with tar, tallow and oak bark.
  • Synthetic particulate filters remove some of the tar before it reaches the smoker.
British Dictionary definitions for tar

tar1

/tɑː/
noun
1.
any of various dark viscid substances obtained by the destructive distillation of organic matter such as coal, wood, or peat
2.
another name for coal tar
verb (transitive) tars, tarring, tarred
3.
to coat with tar
4.
tar and feather, to punish by smearing tar and feathers over (someone)
5.
tarred with the same brush, regarded as having the same faults
Derived Forms
tarry, adjective
tarriness, noun
Word Origin
Old English teoru; related to Old Frisian tera, Old Norse tjara, Middle Low German tere tar, Gothic triu tree

tar2

/tɑː/
noun
1.
an informal word for seaman
Word Origin
C17: short for tarpaulin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for tar
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
tar in Science
tar
  (tär)   
  1. A dark, oily, viscous material, consisting mainly of hydrocarbons, produced by the destructive distillation of organic substances such as wood, coal, or peat.

  2. See coal tar.

  3. A solid, sticky substance that remains when tobacco is burned. It accumulates in the lungs of smokers and is considered carcinogenic.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for tar

tap out

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]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
tar in Technology
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)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with tar

tar

In addition to the idiom beginning with tar also see: beat the living daylights (tar) out of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for tar

(Iranian: "string"), long-necked lute descended from the tanbur of Sasanian Iran and known in a variety of forms throughout the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Its name traditionally signified the number of strings employed-e.g., dutar ("two-strings"), setar ("three-strings"), and cartar ("four-strings")-but this is no longer true, as the sitar of India has up to seven strings. The body of the tar is hollowed out of a single piece of wood and is rounded out in two bulges so that the membrane-covered belly is like a figure 8 or hourglass. The instrument, which is played with a small metal pick, has movable frets and lateral pegs for the metal strings that are rib-fastened. The word tar is also a generic term for Middle Eastern tambourines.

Learn more about tar with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for tar

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for tar

3
3
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with tar

Nearby words for tar