Posted by ESC on April 05, 2000
In Reply to: Tarred with the same brush posted by Angie Morris on April 02, 2000
: Origin I don't know, meaning I can make a stab at (also, what's the orgin of 'make a stab at' I suddenly wonder). Many thanks - in anticipation.
TARRED WITH THE SAME BRUSH - "Someone who shares the sins or faults of another, though possibly to a lesser degree, is tarred with the same brush. The saying may have something to do with tarred-and-feathered criminals, but the reference is probably to the tarring of sheep. Owners of a flock of sheep, which can't be branded, used to mark their wool all in the same place with a brush dipped in tar to distinguish them from sheep of another flock. It is said that red ochre was used to make the marked and that brushing sheep with tar served to protect them against ticks." (From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson, Facts on File, New York,1997.)