Jack tar

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A familiar name for a British seaman. Tar is the shortened version of tarpaulin, the tarred canvas which seamen, and especially topmen, used to wear as protection against the weather during the days of sail. Also, when pigtails were the fashionable hairstyle afloat, seamen always dressed theirs with tar. Originally, the name was applied only to ABs and men whose station in the ship was on the masts and yards of square-rigged warships, but it was later extended to cover all British naval seamen.

See also sailors' dress.

See also sailors' dress.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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