in aqua scripo • Link
Tar the word and substance appears to be a speciality of the Baltic fellows.
lifted from the OED, Too mundane for a landlubber.
[OE. teru (gen. terw-es), teoru (-o): terwo- neut. = MLG. ter. tere, LG. and (thence) mod.Ger. teer, Du. teer; also ON. tjara fem. (Norw. tjøra, Sw. tjära, Da. tjære). OE. had also the deriv. form tierwe, tyrwe ..........Generally considered to be a deriv. of OTeut.
..trewo-, Goth. triu, OE. treow tree (Indo-Eur. derw-: dorw-: dru-): cf. Lith. darvà pine-wood, Lett. darwa tar, ON. tyr-....r pine-wood. Thus terwo may have meant orig. ‘the product (pitch) of certain kinds of trees’.]
1. a. A thick, viscid, black or dark-coloured, inflammable liquid, obtained by the destructive distillation of wood (esp. pine, fir, or larch), coal, or other organic substance; chemically, a mixture of hydrocarbons with resins, alcohols, and other compounds, having a heavy resinous or bituminous odour, and powerful antiseptic properties; it is much used for coating and preserving timber, cordage, etc. See also COAL-TAR. Also formed in the combustion of tobacco, etc
see bitumen.. and Pitch
ad 700 The Baltic residents have introduced the word and the product.
leading to many expressions. and the proverb
b. Proverb. to lose the sheep (dial. ship) for a ha'p'orth of tar: see HALFPENNYWORTH b.
3. A familiar appellation for a sailor: perh. abbreviation of TARPAULIN. Cf. JACK-TAR.
1676 WYCHERLEY Pl. Dealer II. i, Nov. Dear tar, thy humble servant.
1695 CONGREVE Love for L. IV. xiv, You would have seen the Resolution of a Lover,Honest Tarr and I are parted.
1622 FLETCHER & MASSINGER Span. Curate III. ii, I have nointed ye, and tarr'd ye with my doctrine, And yet the murren sticks to ye.