tarting up

tart

2 [tahrt]
noun
1.
a small pie filled with cooked fruit or other sweetened preparation, usually having no top crust.
2.
a covered pie containing fruit or the like.
3.
Slang. a prostitute or promiscuous woman.
Verb phrases
4.
tart up, Slang. to adorn, dress, or decorate, especially in a flamboyant manner: The old restaurant was tarted up to look like a Viennese café.

Origin:
1350–1400; 1905–10 for def 3; Middle English tarte < Middle French; compare Medieval Latin tarta

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World English Dictionary
tart1 (tɑːt)
 
n
a pastry case often having no top crust, with a sweet or savoury filling
 
[C14: from Old French tarte, of uncertain origin; compare Medieval Latin tarte]

tart2 (tɑːt)
 
adj
1.  (of a flavour, food, etc) sour, acid, or astringent
2.  cutting, sharp, or caustic: a tart remark
 
[Old English teart rough; related to Dutch tarten to defy, Middle High German traz defiance]
 
'tartish2
 
adj
 
'tartishly2
 
adv
 
'tartly2
 
adv
 
'tartness2
 
n

tart3 (tɑːt)
 
n
informal See also tart up a promiscuous woman, esp a prostitute: often a term of abuse
 
[C19: shortened from sweetheart]
 
'tarty3
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

tart
"having a sharp taste," late 14c., perhaps from O.E. teart "painful, sharp, severe" (in ref. to punishment, pain, suffering), of unknown origin; possibly related to the root of teran "to tear." Fig. use, with ref. to words, speech, etc., is attested from c.1600.

tart
"small pie," c.1400, from O.Fr. tarte "flat, open-topped pastry" (13c.), possibly an alteration of torte, from L.L. torta "round loaf of bread" (in M.L. "a cake, tart"), infl. in M.E. by tart (adj.).

tart
"prostitute," 1887, from earlier use as a term of endearment to a girl or woman (1864), sometimes said to be a shortening of sweetheart. But another theory traces it to jam-tart (see tart (n.1)), which was British slang early 19c. for "attractive woman." To tart (something) up is from 1938.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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