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Beat the tar out of

Posted by Phil Pegues on January 07, 2008

I looked up "beat the tar out of" and found the explanation to be one rooted in religion. Somehow, my thoughts were of the revolutionary war when we were fighting the English and their navy - including their marines. I thought the phrase was about whipping the English navy (I believe the seamen were called Tars) into joining the Colonies in the revolution. Am I wrong about TARS as well as the original meaning of the phrase?