tar babytar baby
something that is a persistent encumbrance
Origin of tar babyafter a small, sticky tar figure in a story by Joel Chandler Harris
- A inextricable situation or difficult and pressing problem that often grows worse as one tries to deal with it.
- Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a black person, especially a dark-skinned black child.
Origin of tar babyAfter “Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby,” an Uncle Remus story by Joel Chandler Harris in which Brer Fox makes a doll out of tar and Brer Rabbit gets stuck in it when he punches it after it does not return his greeting.
- (chiefly US) A difficult, abstract problem that worsens as one attempts to handle it.
From the tar baby used as a character in Joel Chandler Harris in his Uncle Remus stories, published 1881.