tarred with the same brush, to be

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tarred with the same brush, to be

Characterized by the same faults or bad qualities. This expression probably comes from sheepherding, where it was long the practice to treat a sheep’s sores by applying a brush dipped in tar. Since presumably all the sheep in one flock would be treated in this way, the term was transferred to humans sharing the same qualities. The figurative use dates from the early nineteenth century. In print Sir Walter Scott used it in several novels. John Ciardi, however, believed it came from the practice of sailors working with tar brushes (for caulking), and, being in cramped quarters, often tarring one another. This origin seems less likely.
See also: same, tar
References in periodicals archive ?
Cameron in his wisdom probably thought it was much less hassle just pay up and look pleasant rather than be tarred with the same brush as Thatcher and another dreaded name to match the malice of the deed.
I find it most objectionable to be tarred with the same brush as greedy, deceitful, scroungers whether they are in Parliament or not.
ALL traffic wardens should not be tarred with the same brush. On our return from holiday at Edinburgh Airport on Wednesday, July 16, we suffered a punctured tyre when we came across a traffic police warden outside the terminal.
The 24-year-old psychology student says the German WAGs should not all be tarred with the same brush.
No surprise her prettier sister, Pixie, 16, doesn't want to be tarred with the same brush. She said at the bash: "Peaches is into fashion.
This does not mean the majority of responsible, careful owners should be tarred with the same brush.
And his fans must be tarred with the same brush for still going to his shows.
Now the good carers are going to be tarred with the same brush, which I for one think is awful.
As a result of this, the resident now finds it hard to trust our staff, as we appear to be tarred with the same brush. Our staff promote the individuals' rights, independence and dignity.