English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

Definitions of tar

tar1 (tɑː



  1. any of various dark viscid substances obtained by the destructive distillation of organic matter such as coal, wood, or peat
  2. another name for coal tar



Word forms:   tars,  tarring or ,  tarred
  1. to coat with tar
  2. See tar and feather

  3. See tarred with the same brush

Derived Forms

ˈtarry  adjective
ˈtarriness  noun

Word Origin

Old English teoru; related to Old Frisian tera, Old Norse tjara, Middle Low German tere tar, Gothic triu tree

tar2 (tɑː



  1. an informal word for seaman

Word Origin

C17: short for tarpaulin

Translations for 'tar'

  • British English: tar Tar is a thick black sticky substance that is used especially for making roads. NOUNThe oil has hardened to tar.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: piche
  • Chinese: 沥青沥瀝青
  • European Spanish: alquitrán
  • French: goudron
  • German: Teer
  • Italian: catrame
  • Japanese: タール
  • Korean: 타르
  • Portuguese: piche
  • Spanish: alquitrán

Example Sentences Including 'tar'

No, they've got to find the one or two bad apples in the business and tar and feather the rest of us with them.
Pickard, Nancy No Body
They were hand-rolled and I remember that they used to taste like tar.
MacNeill, Alastair The Devil's Door
She'd stopped smoking, which meant I didn't have to listen to the tar bubbling in the stem of those plastic holders she used to use.
Robert Wilson A DARKENING STAIN (2002)


Log in to comment on this word.