Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Material, such as waterproofed canvas, used to cover and protect things from moisture.
  • n. A sheet of this material.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A heavy, waterproof sheet of material, often cloth, used as a cover.
  • n. A sailor. Often abbreviated to just tar.
  • n. Any heavy, waterproof material used as a cover.
  • n. Canvas waterproofed with tar, used as a cover.
  • n. A hat made of, or covered with, painted or tarred cloth, worn by sailors and others.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A piece of canvas covered with tar or a waterproof composition, used for covering the hatches of a ship, hammocks, boats, etc.
  • n. A hat made of, or covered with, painted or tarred cloth, worn by sailors and others.
  • n. Hence, a sailor; a seaman; a tar.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Canvas made water-proof with tar; hence, any waterproof cloth, especially when used in large sheets for covering anything exposed to the weather or to wet.
  • n. A sailor's hat made of or covered with painted or tarred cloth.
  • n. A sailor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. waterproofed canvas

Etymologies

Probably alteration of tar1 + pall1 + -ing2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From tar + pallĀ ("heavy canvas") + -ing. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Here a tarp, short for tarpaulin, is a waterproof sheet of canvas or heavy duty plastic that you throw over things to keep the rain off.

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  • Snow and rain and summer sun had bleached its wood, its runners were red streaks of rust, its rawhide lashings had been eaten off, but snugly rolled inside the tarpaulin was a sack of mail.

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  • At the opposite side of the room, a much worn sailor's hat, commonly called a tarpaulin, was balanced upon the point of a fishing rod, and beneath this trophy was placed a small side board, the open doors of which disclosed a number of shelves laden with gilt edged drinking vessels of white and blue china; a set of rose colored tea-cups, and several polished silver plated mugs.

    The Home in the Valley

  • The original material used, i.e. the tarpaulin, is called tarpaulin made-ups even after undergoing the process and therefore can't be said to be a manufacturing process, the judges said, dismissing the Commissioner's appeals challenging the Cegat order.

    Daily News & Analysis

  • Among the pleasant pictures of memory is that of Thomas Blake as he appeared after he had changed his civilized clothes for a Brook Farm tunic of blue plaid, a "tarpaulin" straw hat and a neat broad rolling shirt collar of large dimensions that gracefully tended towards his square shoulders.

    Brook Farm

  • This cover can be out of a sturdy material such as tarpaulin that can be custom ordered to fit your RV specifically.

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  • The stage then goes dark while some kind of tarpaulin is laid out, and while it's still dark,

    Gay Banker

  • The pit is then lined with a tarpaulin which is weighted down with rocks.

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  • In some parts of the city, entrepreneurs were seen cruising the streets in pickup trucks with tarpaulin sheets covering up six-packs of half-liter bottles of water, priced at 250 baht to 300 baht per pack, or nearly $10.

    Bangkok Flood Adds to City's Woes

  • As she hove to, a cable length away, the captain of The Francis Spaight bestirred himself and ordered a tarpaulin to be thrown over O'Brien's corpse.

    THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

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