Definition of tar pit in English:

tar pit


  • 1A hollow in which natural tar accumulates by seepage.

    • ‘Perhaps his most famous contribution was his study of the vertebrate fossils from the La Brea tar pits near Los Angeles, California, started in 1912.’
    • ‘It wasn't horribly interesting watching a bunch of natural tar pits and the skeletons of animals that were found in them.’
    • ‘Pre-Ice Age condor specimens recovered from the Rancho La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, California, showed that these populations targeted solely land mammals.’
    • ‘Most of those bones, which began accumulating in the tar pits about 44,000 years ago, were exhumed early in the 1900s, he says.’
    • ‘Site remediation meant removing the residual contamination of the former gasworks' tar pits.’
    • ‘Near the corner of Wilshire and La Brea, tourists gape at the remains of saber-toothed cats and mastodons dredged out of prehistoric tar pits.’
    • ‘Smilodon fossils from the La Brea tar pits include bones that show evidence of serious crushing or fracture injuries, or crippling arthritis and other degenerative diseases.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, there are occasions when the group skirt dangerously close to the same easy-listening tar pits that have ensnared so many post-rock fusionists.’
    • ‘Their bones are common in the La Brea tar pits of Los Angeles, and mummified remains have been found in Alaska and Siberia.’
    • ‘Both of these species are from the Pleistocene, or ‘ice ages’ of California and their fossils are known from the La Brea tar pits of Southern California.’
    • ‘The film picks up as the Ice Age is coming to an end and the animals are delighting in their new world: a melting paradise of water parks, geysers and tar pits.’
    • ‘In particular, the respective ratios of carbon isotopes and nitrogen isotopes in bones excavated from the tar pits shed light on dietary habits of the very animal from which the bone derived.’
    • ‘La Brea tar pits and the Page Museum is an excellent place to see the fossils and reconstructions from this period.’
    • ‘Rather improbably, just three miles eastward along the boulevard lies the first earth-study destination, the tar pits at La Brea.’
    • ‘He did manage to identify the genus of some bits of wood, perhaps 10,000 years old, extracted from the La Brea tar pits in California.’
    • ‘On the island of Zakynthos to the west, where gas springs and tar pits are tourist attractions, he found spring water with ethylene levels similar to those in Delphi.’
    • ‘He was a dinosaur who, instead of crawling off to some distant tar pit to die, took an entire industry with him into the abyss.’
    • ‘The remains of an ancient scimitar cat - a relative of the mighty Ice Age predator, the sabertooth - have been found lodged in a tar pit in eastern Venezuela, scientists say.’
    • ‘Although the tar pits trapped most of their victims between 44,000 years and 4,000 years ago, they're still a danger for the unwitting creature.’
    • ‘The scientists will next try to confirm the finding in saber-toothed cats, which are also well represented in the tar pits, says a coauthor, also of UCLA.’
    1. 1.1 A complicated or difficult situation or problem.
      ‘the tar pit of municipal poverty’
      • ‘Excepting his frequent dips into the tar pit of toxic love, he isn't regarded to have done too badly.’
      • ‘On the other hand, he does not recommend government action to rescue third-party developers from the ‘tar pit’ of limited and incompatible software development environments.’
      • ‘If use of urban land were not such a tar pit of regulation & litigation, surely a vigorous government, exercising eminent domain, might have done something with the site by now.’
      • ‘The tar pit of software engineering will continue to be sticky for a long time to come.’
      • ‘In an effort to tame the tar pit, various researchers in the software engineering field have proposed methods of software development that promise to bring sanity to the programming process.’