Why Does Tar Mean Sailor?


2 Answers

Vikash Swaroop Profile
Vikash Swaroop answered
When you are using the word 'tar' to signify a sailor you are exactly not using a word on its own but only a short form of the word tarpaulin and the meaning of this word can unveil the reason behind the use of the word 'tar' being used for a sailor.

Tarpaulin signifies a large sheet that is made with a quite heavy water resistance material and the use of this material is that of to keep the rain off; usually the material does its job by covering things with itself. To some extent a sailor does the same; he keeps the water off and saves all the things that are under his charge. It is for this reason that the word is being used to signify a sailor also.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
This answer is incorrect. The word Tar or sometimes Jack Tar refers to a common seamen the men who did the work aboard ship. When used in reference to a sailor it is an expression directly related to the pitch or tar waterproofing used on wooden vessels. The sailor would inevitably be in contact with the tar either in applying it or when contacting some object coated with it and like most working men there days labor shown form under there fingernails. For more information please refer to the 19th century first hand sailing narratives of Richard H Dana Two years before the Mast and Herman Melville White Jacket or Life in a Navy Frigate
Anonymous commented
I note that Samual Pepys used the word
tarpaulin to refer to a sailor - see diary entry of June 29th, 1667.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The answer is incorrect as "tar" is in relation to pitch used to seal the hull, caskets and even a sailors pony tail, thus the need for a flap at the back of ones shirt.. It is, however a lovely tribute to sailors in general.

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