Definition of tar pit in English:

tar pit

noun

  • 1A hollow in which natural tar oozes out of the ground and accumulates, in particular one in which the bones of prehistoric animals trapped in the tar have been preserved.

    ‘fossil remains of dire wolves are abundant in the La Brea 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their bones are common in the La Brea tar pits of Los Angeles, and mummified remains have been found in Alaska and Siberia.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most of those bones, which began accumulating in the tar pits about 44,000 years ago, were exhumed early in the 1900s, he says.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Site remediation meant removing the residual contamination of the former gasworks' tar pits.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘La Brea tar pits and the Page Museum is an excellent place to see the fossils and reconstructions from this period.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rather improbably, just three miles eastward along the boulevard lies the first earth-study destination, the tar pits at La Brea.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 A complicated or difficult situation or problem.
      ‘about seven million homeowners continue to be stuck in the tar pit of serious negative equity’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Excepting his frequent dips into the tar pit of toxic love, he isn't regarded to have done too badly.’
      • ‘The tar pit of software engineering will continue to be sticky for a long time to come.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’