tar 1 (tär)
1. A dark, oily, viscous material, consisting mainly of hydrocarbons, produced by the destructive distillation of organic substances such as wood, coal, or peat.
2. See coal tar.
3. A solid residue of tobacco smoke containing byproducts of combustion.
tr.v. tarred, tar·ring, tarsIdioms:
To coat with or as if with tar.
tar and feather
1. To punish (a person) by covering with tar and feathers.
2. To criticize severely and devastatingly; excoriate.
tarred with the same brush
Considered or described as having the same faults or bad qualities.
[Middle English, from Old English teru; see deru- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.