Denotation vs. Connotation


[tahr-paw-lin, tahr-puh-lin] /tɑrˈpɔ lɪn, ˈtɑr pə lɪn/
a protective covering of canvas or other material waterproofed with tar, paint, or wax.
a hat, especially a sailor's, made of or covered with such material.
Rare. a sailor.
Origin of tarpaulin
1595-1605; earlier tarpauling. See tar1, pall1, -ing1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for tarpaulin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the order of our march the squeezes went first, forming immense rolls covered with tarpaulin.

  • The loads, covered by the tarpaulin, had been arranged in the centre of the circle.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • Five, ten, twenty, thirty minutes passed; and still no sign of tarpaulin.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman Albert Walter Tolman
  • At camp Kingozi ordered them to place the loads in place beneath the tarpaulin.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • That's why he wouldn't be any good to himself or anybody else out on tarpaulin Island.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman Albert Walter Tolman
  • I could not control my anxiety as the steward got nearer and nearer the tarpaulin.

  • The tarpaulin and lumber forward had disappeared, and there lay long Tom, ready levelled, grinning on his pivot.

British Dictionary definitions for tarpaulin


a heavy hard-wearing waterproof fabric made of canvas or similar material coated with tar, wax, or paint, for outdoor use as a protective covering against moisture
a sheet of this fabric
a hat of or covered with this fabric, esp a sailor's hat
a rare word for seaman
Word Origin
C17: probably from tar1 + pall1 + -ing1
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 tarpaulin

c.1600, from tar (n.1) + palling, from pall "heavy cloth covering" (see pall (n.)); probably so called because the canvas is sometimes coated in tar to make it waterproof.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for tarpaulin

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for tarpaulin

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for tarpaulin