tar and feather

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tar and feather

1. Literally, to coat someone with tar and bird feathers as a form of public punishment and shaming (a practice that fell out of use in the early 20th century). The mob tarred and feathered the thief in the public square before parading him through the town strapped to a wooden cart.
2. By extension, to severely criticize, reprimand, or excoriate someone, especially in a public and humiliating manner. Everyone is demanding that the government tar and feather the bank executives behind the scandal, but I'd be willing to bet that all they'll receive is a slap on the wrist.
See also: and, feather, tar

tar and feather someone

to punish or humiliate someone by coating them with tar and feathers. The people of the village tarred and feathered the bank robber and chased him out of town. They threatened to tar and feather me if I ever came back into their town.
See also: and, feather, tar

tar and feather

Criticize severely, punish, as in The traditionalists often want to tar and feather those who don't conform. This expression alludes to a former brutal punishment in which a person was smeared with tar and covered with feathers, which then stuck. It was first used as a punishment for theft in the English navy, recorded in the Ordinance of Richard I in 1189, and by the mid-1700s had become mob practice. The figurative usage dates from the mid-1800s.
See also: and, feather, tar

tar and feather someone

If you tar and feather someone, you criticize and embarrass them very badly. These newspapers are ready to tar and feather innocent celebrities.
See also: and, feather, someone, tar

tar and feather

smear with tar and then cover with feathers as a punishment.
This practice was introduced in Britain in 1189 , when Richard I decreed that it should be the punishment for members of the navy found guilty of theft. It seems to have been intermittently imposed on other wrongdoers in Britain and has sometimes been inflicted on an unpopular or scandalous individual by a mob.
1981 Anthony Price Soldier No More The Russians…wouldn't have cared less if we'd tarred and feathered Nasser and run him out of Suez on a rail.
See also: and, feather, tar

tar and feather

1. To punish (a person) by covering with tar and feathers.
2. To criticize severely and devastatingly; excoriate.
See also: and, feather, tar
References in classic literature ?
As I told you, my going to Court has been as much as our lives are worth, and now we will both be tarred and feathered, and burnt in the public market-place.
I wish the people had tarred and feathered every man of them
And I would risk my life rather than one of those good old royalists should be tarred and feathered.
The author goes on to describe several occasions where Loyalists were tarred and feathered, without any sense of the barbarity of the actions.
CORRUPT Greek governments have deceived one and all Bringing about this tragic downfall Deceiving the euro and their own nation The government brought on this panic station The banks have no money and the public no pride The Greek revival will be a long hard ride Facing austerity for many more years Poor Greek folk tell you as they fight back the tears Pocket money for the kids does not now exist And is a long way down the survival list The Greek government have let the nation down They should be tarred and feathered and run out of town Sooner or later we hope all is resolved And with less austerity being involved.
Even so, one wonders just how eager audiences will be to watch a tony adaptation of ex-New York Times reporter Michael Finkel's self-serving memoir, a conscience-cleanser written to redeem himself after being tarred and feathered for inventing a composite character in a high-profile cover story.
Dale Myers They all want to be tarred and feathered.
I ended up looking like I'd been tarred and feathered.
Their encore included Pack of Thieves, Zzzonked and during Constellations a shower of tiny stars fell upon the sweaty crowd who staggered out of the gig looking tarred and feathered.
The Shaheen omission is understandable, since her campaign essentially tarred and feathered Lamontagne in their 1996 gubernatorial race.
I believe that had he been Anglican clergy, he would have been dragged through a Bishops' Court, denounced, reviled, defrocked, tarred and feathered in the press and run out of town on a rail.
I thought their behaviour reminiscent of the days when suspects were sent to the village stocks or tarred and feathered.
Vigilantes tarred and feathered an alleged drug dealer because police refused to take action against him, it was claimed yesterday.
Phil Edwards, a spokesman for the BNP, said: "I think he should be put in the stocks, and tarred and feathered and driven out of town.
They tarred and feathered revenue men and gathered in the thousands in the Pittsburgh area at the headwaters of the Ohio River.