be tarred and feathered

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be tarred and feathered

1. Literally, to be coated with tar and bird feathers as a form of public punishment and shaming (one that is no longer carried out). The thief was tarred and feathered in the public square before being paraded through the town strapped to a wooden cart.
2. By extension, to be severely criticized, reprimanded, or excoriated, especially in a public and humiliating manner. After this economic collapse, everyone is demanding that the heads of the bank be tarred and feathered, but I'd be willing to bet that they'll just get a slap on the wrist.
See also: and, feathered, tar
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
He later restored guns that the Patriots had spiked in order to prevent them being fired in honour of King George III's birthday, but what most endeared him to the Loyalists of South Carolina was the fact that he organized a militia of one hundred men, and thus, in his own words, "prevented some people from being tarred and feathered.
A MAN, photographed being tarred and feathered in sickening pictures, has fled to Scotland.
JOY-RIDING thugs are being tarred and feathered by loyalist paramilitaries in a barbaric throw back to the 1970s of publicly humiliating criminals.
Catholic women accused of having flings with British soldiers were also singled out, often having their hair cut short before being tarred and feathered.