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Beating the "tar" out of someone

Posted by R. Berg on July 11, 2001

In Reply to: Beating the "tar" out of someone posted by brent geppert on July 11, 2001

: Does anyone know the origin of: "scarred the tar out of them or beating the tar out of someone"? My thinking is it has some religious connotation. Any ideas?

The Dictionary of American Slang has this for "tar": "The insides; the stuffing. Usu. in 'beat [or knock] the tar out of [someone].' 1930: 'Someone . . . beat the tar out of the thug. . . .'"