from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A member of any of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples of central Asia who invaded western Asia and eastern Europe in the Middle Ages.
- n. Variant of Tatar.
- n. A person regarded as ferocious or violent.
- idiom catch a Tartar To grapple with an unexpectedly formidable opponent.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- proper n. Alternative spelling of Tatar.
- proper n. A member of the various tribes and their descendants of Tartary, such as Turks, Mongols and Manchus.
Hence some would derive the word Tartar, [Illustration] "Tartar," after the Hebrew manner.
Protected by a moat and a wall wide enough to accommodate a man on horseback, the Imperial City was only a part of what was called the Tartar City, the northern two thirds of Peking; in the Tartar City, the houses were painted gray and other dull colors so as not to outshine the yellows, reds, and purples of the Forbidden and Imperial Cities.
 The name Tartar (more correctly, Tatar) was originally applied to both Mongol and Turkish tribes that entered Russia.
Vinous Liquor, the fermented Juice of Grapes is partly turned into liquid Dregs or Leeze, and partly into that crust or dry feculancy that is commonly called Tartar; and this Tartar may by the Fire be easily divided into five differing substances; four of which are not
The Sceptical Chymist or Chymico-Physical Doubts & Paradoxes, Touching the Spagyrist's Principles Commonly call'd Hypostatical; As they are wont to be Propos'd and Defended by the Generality of Alchymists. Whereunto is præmis'd Part of another Discourse relating to the same Subject.
Most of my exposure to the word Tartar is from my Russian wife's family.
It came to light in the 1950s, bound together with a slender and then otherwise unknown tract dating to about 1440, entitled the Tartar Relation.
Captain ***, who had been described as a Tartar and martinet, received me with much affability, and seemed charmed when I told him that I conversed fluently not only in French but in English.
Tartars, I admit -- but when you remember that a Tartar is a person who owns no master, rides like a jockey, and drinks as much as he pleases with impunity, the imputation is not serious.
If in the nature of things the Tartar is a Mahometan, the Pole a Roman Catholic, and the German a Protestant, it is equally in the nature of things that the Russian should be a member of the Orthodox
This was called Tartar, from the wailings the sentence produced among his relatives.