(old, brit., informal) A sailor.
(UK) Alternative spelling of jacktar.
(UK, idiomatic) Alternative spelling of jacktar.
Other Word Forms
Origin of jack-tar
- From Jack, a common name for a sailor plus tar, used to waterproof sails as well as the seams between planks on wooden ships (1781). Sailors also used tar for clothing, grooming: their coats and hats, were made of the waterproof fabric called tarpaulin; seamen commonly pleated their long hair into a pigtail and smeared it with high grade tar to prevent it getting caught in the ship's equipment, a practice that continued until the early 20th century. Often a sailor's hands would be stained with tar.