tar1 / tär/ • n. 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 roadmaking and for coating and preserving timber. ∎ a similar substance formed by burning tobacco or other material: [in comb.] low-tar cigarettes. • v. (tarred , tar·ring ) [tr.] [usu. as adj.] (tarred) cover (something) with tar: a newly tarred road. PHRASES: beat (or whale) the tar out of inf. beat or thrash severely. tar and feather smear with tar and then cover with feathers as a punishment. tar people with the same brush consider specified people to have the same faults. tar2 • n. inf., dated a sailor.
TAR. In the American colonies, tar was a by-product of land clearing and was both exported and supplied to local shipyards. In 1705 Parliament established bounties on naval stores, including tar, imported from the colonies. Following the passage of this law and subsequent acts, annual shipments of pitch and tar from the colonies to Great Britain increased from less than one thousand barrels to more than eighty-two thousand barrels. During the era of wooden ships, tar retained an important place in manufacturing and trade statistics, especially in North Carolina. In the twentieth century most of the tar produced was distilled to yield carbolic oil, naphtha, and other crude products, while pine wood tar was used in medicines and soap.
Kilmarx, Robert A., ed. America's Maritime Legacy: A History of the U.S. Merchant Marine and Shipbuilding Industry since Colonial Times. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1979.
Victor S.Clark/h. s.
tar and pitch
tar and pitch, viscous, dark-brown to black substances obtained by the destructive distillation of coal, wood, petroleum, peat, and certain other organic materials. The heating or partial burning of wood to make charcoal yields tar as a byproduct and is an ancient method for the production of both tar and pitch. Coal tar is a residue in the manufacture of coal gas and coke. By the application of heat, tar is separated into several materials, one of which is pitch. The terms tar and pitch are loosely applied to the many varieties of the two substances, sometimes interchangeably. For example, asphalt, which is naturally occurring pitch, is called mineral tar and mineral pitch. Tar is more or less fluid, depending upon its origin and the temperature to which it is exposed. Pitch tends to be more solid. When ships were made of wood, tar had numerous uses, and an available supply of tar was an important factor in maritime growth. Tar made vessels watertight and protected their ropes from deterioration. All but small quantities of the tar now produced is fractionally distilled to yield naphtha, creosote, carbolic oil, and other equally important crude products. Among the substances produced by refining the various crude materials are benzene, toluene, cresol, and phenol. Tar from pine wood is used in making soap and medicinal preparations. Pitch is used in the manufacture of roofing paper, in varnishes, as a lubricant, and as a binder for coal dust in the making of briquettes used as fuel. Coal-tar derivatives are used in the manufacture of dyes, cosmetics, and synthetic flavoring extracts.
tar baby a difficult problem which is only aggravated by attempts to solve it, with allusion to the doll smeared with tar as a trap for Brer Rabbit, in J. C. Harris's Uncle Remus (1880).
Tar Heel State informal name for North Carolina, with allusion to tar as a principal product of that state.
See also do not spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar.
Tar ★★ 1997
Female cop Prescott and crook Thigpen were high school sweethearts who went their separate ways. But they're reunited when Thigpen hijacks a squad car that just happens to be driven by guess who. There's also a story involving a group of black nationalists who kidnap white businessman and cover them in—you guessed it—tar. Likeable leads, improbable characters. 90m/C VHS, DVD . Kevin Thigpen, Nicole Prescott, Seth Gilliam, Ron Brice, Frank Minucci; D: Goetz Grossmann; W: Goetz Grossmann; C: Lloyd Handwerker; M: John Hill.