Main definitions of tar in English

: tar1tar2

tar1

noun

  • 1[mass noun] A dark, thick flammable liquid distilled from wood or coal, consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons, resins, alcohols, and other compounds. It is used in road-making and for coating and preserving timber.

    • ‘However, it is understood the substance is a waste product created during the distillation of tar, coal, oil or gas and contained sulphuric acid.’
    • ‘Commercial bit cleaner can be used to remove pitch and tar; however, a scrap piece of wood will usually do the trick.’
    • ‘I continued walking across the hot black tar of the parking lot until I reached a dark blue Ferrari.’
    • ‘When he learnt of a valuable Baltic convoy carrying timber and tar for shipbuilding due into port, he waited to ambush it off Scarborough.’
    • ‘Kerosene and the rest of the organic mixture's lighter components evaporated, leaving behind the heavier molecules that make up tar and asphalt.’
    • ‘But environment watchdogs said that residents have not been put at risk by a complex operation to remove chemicals including tar, cyanide, ammonia and carcinogenic coal naptha.’
    • ‘On our way out of al-Juweibir, we stop and talk to a man putting a thick layer of tar on his grandfather's boat.’
    • ‘Still impure, the gas was then passed through condensers and scrubbers to remove tar, and then through iron oxide purifiers to remove other impurities.’
    • ‘In addition to poisons, smoke and fumes, steelworkers are exposed on an almost continuous basis to such toxic substances as tar, benzene and hydrochloric acid, to name only a few.’
    • ‘Depending on the type and location of the flashings, roofing tar or silicone or butyl rubber sealants can be used to seal small cracks and gaps.’
    • ‘It wasn't too much later that I found myself working as a roofer in Aspen, Colorado, carrying buckets of hot tar up a ladder.’
    • ‘They refined black tar to make plastic for the television casings, and they blew fine glass for the screens.’
    • ‘Spain needed pine for tar, turpentine, and wood-essential naval stores for its shipbuilding industry in Cuba.’
    • ‘For roofs this is generally done by applying a coating such as tar, acrylic, silicone or rubberized paint.’
    • ‘The tar and stone mixture layer was found to be less than the prescribed 7 mm.’
    • ‘The space between each pair of deck planks in a wooden ship was filled with a packing material called ‘oakum’ and then sealed with a mixture of pitch and tar.’
    • ‘She said if the road went through the area, it would transform Bennettsbridge into a major depot for tar and bricks.’
    • ‘To remove tar, freeze it to brittleness with ice cubes and then scrape it off with a plastic spatula.’
    • ‘Using oils, acrylics, resin and tar on both wood and canvas support, the work reflects industrial, urban, suburban and natural views.’
    • ‘Tar pits form when crude oil seeps to the surface through fissures in the Earth's crust; the light fraction of the oil evaporates, leaving behind the heavy tar, or asphalt, in sticky pools.’
    1. 1.1A substance resembling tar, formed by burning tobacco or other material.
      [in combination] ‘high-tar cigarettes’
      • ‘I was curious, are there any alternatives to cigarettes that don't have nicotine, tar, and all that other nasty stuff?’
      • ‘The tobacco used in these contraptions is not loaded with tar and nicotine as are cigarettes and it doesn't produce the noxious smog which so irritates non-smokers.’
      • ‘The fact that mild cigarettes contain less nicotine and tar than normal ones can create a false impression and lead people to smoke more than they otherwise would do.’
      • ‘Tobacco is a sweet smelling product of the aromatic leaves of the Nicotina plant, but contains carcinogenic and highly addictive substances like nicotine, tar and benzene.’
      • ‘The stone walls and stick ceiling drip with black tar from decades of burning yak dung.’
      • ‘Smoking the drug carries a high risk of mouth, throat and lung cancer, the same as smoking cigarettes really but without the added nicotine and tar.’
      • ‘Cannabis deposited four times as much tar on lungs as tobacco and could, if used regularly, cause cancer.’
      • ‘Since 1980, members of the coalition have tried to persuade tobacco companies to limit the yields of tar and nicotine in cigarettes sold in developing countries and to add health warnings on their packaging.’
      • ‘NRT products provide a way of coping with nicotine withdrawal without taking in the harmful substances of tar and carbon monoxide.’
      • ‘There are, according to him, cigarettes available in India with five to six milligrams of tar and those with 18 milligrams of tar, but the average worked out to 12 milligrams.’
      • ‘Cannabis acts as a relaxant without damaging the liver from alcohol abuse and has less tar than a cigarette.’
      • ‘In line with the motive to instruct, there are diseased organs, a liver shrivelled from alcohol abuse, lungs disfigured by cigarette tar, the misshapen brain of an Alzheimer's sufferer.’
      • ‘The tar in tobacco contains hundreds of carcinogens that promote the transformation of normal cells into cancerous cells.’
      • ‘Hardwoods are better because they burn hotter and form less creosote, an oily, black tar that sticks to chimneys and stove pipes.’
      • ‘In addition to nicotine, cigarette smoke is primarily composed of gases (mainly carbon monoxide) and tar.’
      • ‘It also restricted the maximum amount of nicotine and tar to 1.5 milligrams and 20 milligrams respectively per cigarette.’
      • ‘Although triggers such as tobacco tar and radioactive radon gas are known to be linked to lung cancer, little is understood of the genetic damage that causes the disease.’
      • ‘The ratio of tar to nicotine produced in the tobacco smoke of low tar cigarettes is in fact closely similar to that of conventional cigarettes.’
      • ‘Earlier nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar were considered most harmful.’
      • ‘He leaned in close, so close I could smell cigarette tar on his breath.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Cover (something) with tar.

    ‘a newly tarred road’
    • ‘The corporation is very active at the moment in tarring roads in many housing estates.’
    • ‘Today he is a successful actor who, after window cleaning, tried his hand at being a holiday rep in Majorca, a postman, selling papers, a labourer and tarring roads - all in Northern Ireland.’
    • ‘This big barge was tarred black all around the hull for protection from leakages.’
    • ‘He pointed to the plan of having all roads in Soweto tarred by the end of 2005.’
    • ‘According to the residents some of the roads here have not been tarred for over five years now.’
    • ‘The few tarred roads are the connection to the coastal countries, along with a railway line to Abidjan.’
    • ‘He said although the distance being tarred may not be very long, its significance to the local economy is immense.’
    • ‘A back road in the area had never been tarred and he wondered if there were any other roads like that in county Mayo.’
    • ‘We couldn't help noticing either how small towns in rural KZN are connected by good tarred roads.’
    • ‘The inside of the bomb is tarred to keep the explosive away from the metal on the inside of the bomb.’
    • ‘He said Sophiatown had a reasonably decent infrastructure, and all the roads were tarred.’
    • ‘When the city council decided to invite small and medium enterprises as contractors tarring roads in the city, almost half of the contractors were women.’
    • ‘Proper tarred roads should be built in rural areas and bus facilities made available in every nook and corner of the State.’
    • ‘By then the road was tarred, but just a few years previously it was nothing more than a graveled roadway.’
    • ‘The aggregate number of kilometres of road that have been tarred, bridges built or repaired can also be quantified.’
    • ‘The shortest days has been 16 hours and it seemed shorter than any seven hour days I used to put in at a bank or tarring roads.’
    • ‘This road will eventually be tarred up to Oranjemund, the southernmost town on the coastline.’
    • ‘The piles were tarred ironbark and the beams were kauri with iron brackets to brace them.’
    • ‘This road, which was just a sand road up to now, was tarred last week.’
    • ‘These roads were tarred just six months ago and with the recent rains, deep potholes have emerged.’
    cover, surface, floor, top, finish, asphalt, flag, tile, tar, tarmac, metal
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • beat (or whale) the tar out of

    • informal Beat or thrash severely.

      • ‘They lunged at us with anything that they could grab hold of, and attempting to beat the tar out of us.’
      • ‘If anything goes wrong I can beat the tar out of him.’
      • ‘Throwing a flurry of punches and kicks, he continually beat the tar out of his opponent without breaking a sweat.’
      • ‘And as fun as it is to watch his emotion on the lanes, if I were on the approach listening to him beat the tar out of me, it would be all I could do to keep my composure and not knock those shades fight off his face.’
      • ‘The illusion had worked perfectly, though it'd been hard to keep himself from laughing when he beat the tar out of him.’
      • ‘There's a technique I'm going to show you that will make it sound and look like you two are whaling the tar out of each other, but you'll be unharmed… if you do it correctly.’
      • ‘He knew how to treat women right, and he was ready to beat the tar out of anyone who didn't.’
      • ‘And I'll remember that he can beat the tar out of me.’
      • ‘In January of 2002, he fought Vernon Forrest, who beat the tar out of him in their first fight and won convincingly in the rematch six months later.’
      • ‘He looks exactly like her ex, he used to beat the tar out of her.’
  • tar and feather

    • Smear with tar and then cover with feathers as a punishment.

      ‘a group of sailors had just stripped, tarred, and feathered a man’
      • ‘They wanted to know if they could tar and feather her and put her in the swimming pool.’
      • ‘The young folks had begged the sheriff not to lock up Tony Williams, but the old folks, who were the majority in the town, had voted to tar and feather him.’
      • ‘"There was a certain segment of population that wanted to tar and feather the mayor for even suggesting it," the city clerk recalled.’
      • ‘Before everybody starts to tar and feather me, or put me in the traitor category with him, I'm as thrilled as anyone that we won.’
      • ‘Whilst my views may represent a certain amount of leftist thought, they are not saying ‘Let's murder the government, lynch the Monarchy and tar and feather local police forces’.’
      • ‘In the mid-1750s, people would get so outraged at such injustices they would storm the governor's mansion, tar and feather him, loot his estate and then burn his house down.’
      • ‘Before you answer, you would have no opportunity to grill him, tar and feather him or subject him to any form of torture.’
      • ‘We don't duck adulterous women any more; nor do we tar and feather them.’
      • ‘I am not talking about some piffling scheme to tar and feather wrong 'uns, or force them to walk up and down Petergate wearing sandwich boards listing their wrongdoings.’
      • ‘While she tries to use rational persuasion, her two henchwomen can hardly wait to tar and feather the mutinous victim.’
  • tar people with the same brush

    • Consider certain people to have the same faults.

      ‘they're all tarred with the same brush, that family’
      • ‘The Acomb crackdown should curb their activities, and those of the troublemakers who have tarred all teenagers with the same brush.’
      • ‘But care should be taken with generalisations because of the danger of unjustifiably tarring all young people with the same brush.’
      • ‘Instead of helping the underclass he is tarring the whole community with the same brush.’
      • ‘Maybe he has been to a few dodgy sessions and then has tarred all guitarists with the same brush!’
      • ‘The landlord, for whom I act as agent, and I welcomed this report, but take offence at his ill-informed remarks, where she appears to be tarring most landlords with the same brush.’
      • ‘As a result of such excess, the modest small business was afraid to speak out because all business was tarred with the one brush, he said.’
      • ‘When tarring people with the same brush is official government policy, then its going to be difficult to discourage people from doing likewise.’
      • ‘We have allowed your comment to remain in good faith and to show that we welcome debate and do not tar people with the same brush.’
      • ‘Like I said in another forum, its all well and good tarring people with the same brush, but beware that you don't end up attacking genuinely good people in the process.’
      • ‘Being human, it is all too easy to tar people with the same brush and see the religion as a threat.’

Origin

Old English teru, teoru, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch teer, German Teer, and perhaps ultimately to tree.

Pronunciation:

tar

/tɑː/

Main definitions of tar in English

: tar1tar2

tar2

noun

informal, dated
  • A sailor.

    • ‘Earlier though, someone shouts the word ‘Avast!’ at a bunch of mutinous tars and everyone just giggles.’’
    • ‘To the tars of Victoria's navy, especially those returning from the farthest flung corners of the empire, the Azores were the gateway to home.’
    • ‘He is known to have had an eye for the ladies; he also could down a good tipple with the best of the tars.’
    • ‘Against such descriptions, he juxtaposes the opinions of racists, embodied in the seedy character of Wilkes, the boastful character of Williams, and in the ‘other hangers-on’ and ‘tars’ at the Virginian tavern and Marine Coffee-House.’
    seaman, seafarer, seafaring man, mariner
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 17th century: perhaps an abbreviation of tarpaulin, also used as a nickname for a sailor at this time.

Pronunciation:

tar

/tɑː/