[tahr-paw-lin, tahr-puh-lin]
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.

1595–1605; earlier tarpauling. See tar1, pall1, -ing1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tarpaulin (tɑːˈpɔːlɪn)
1.  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
2.  a sheet of this fabric
3.  a hat of or covered with this fabric, esp a sailor's hat
4.  a rare word for seaman
[C17: probably from tar1 + pall1 + -ing1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1605, 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
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Example sentences
Blue tarpaulin and chain-link fences are coming down.
Mineral sands, such as zircon, sit under a tarpaulin.
Or spread tarpaulin at dropping time, knock off all fruit, and dispose of it.
Many will remain in tents and under tarpaulin construction of any kind.
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