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From tar + pall ‎(heavy canvas) + -ing.


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tarpaulin ‎(plural tarpaulins)

  1. (countable) A heavy, waterproof sheet of material, often cloth, used as a cover.
    Throw a tarpaulin over that woodpile before it gets wet.
  2. (countable, slang, archaic) A sailor. Often abbreviated to just tar.
  3. (uncountable, obsolete) Any heavy, waterproof material used as a cover.
  4. (uncountable, nautical, obsolete) Canvas waterproofed with tar, used as a cover.
  5. A hat made of, or covered with, painted or tarred cloth, worn by sailors and others.

Usage notesEdit

  • In the US, tarp is more commonly used than tarpaulin, even in print.

Derived termsEdit


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