Jack tar


      • a sailor
        Referring to someone who works on a ship or a sailor in general

      • tough and experienced
        Describing someone as tough, experienced, or skilled in a particular field

    Examples of Jack tar

    • The sailor swore like a true Jack tar, with every curse word imaginable spilling from his lips.

      A Jack tar is a sailor who has spent a lot of time at sea. The term comes from the way sailors used to collect tar from ships' hulls to waterproof their clothing. The expression "swore like a true Jack tar" is used to describe someone who swears frequently and profusely, just as these sailors might do.

    • The old ship groaned like a dying Jack tar as it took on water during the rough storm.

      The comparison here is between the creaking and groaning of the old ship and the death rattle of a dying person. In this case, the ship sounds like a Jack tar who is nearing the end of his life.

    • The bar was filled with rough-looking men, all of them spouting sailor slang and behaving like true Jack tars.

      This example shows how the Jack tar stereotype has become associated with a rough, masculine image. Here, the men in the bar are behaving in a rowdy and boisterous way, just as a Jack tar might do.

    • The captain quizzed the recruits mercilessly, demanding that they answer every question correctly or face the same fate as a true Jack tar at the mercy of the sea.

      The phrase "at the mercy of the sea" is used to describe someone who is completely subject to the forces of nature. In this case, the captain is comparing the recruits' uncertain fate to that of a Jack tar out at sea, reminding them of the danger and unpredictability of life on the water.

    • He may talk a big game, but he's really just a jack tar in a fancy suit.

      This idiom is used to describe someone who is pretending to be more important or successful than they actually are. "Jack tar" was a term used in the 18th century to refer to seamen, particularly those who were rough and unrefined. By calling someone a "jack tar" in a fancier context, we're indicating that they're trying to put on airs and act like someone they're not.

    • The CEO may have a corner office with a stunning view, but behind closed doors, he's just another jack tar.

      Once again, this idiom is used to expose someone's true nature. In business or professional settings, a "jack tar" might be someone who seems impressive on the surface but doesn't have the skills or experience to back it up. By using this phrase, we're suggesting that the person's professional success is not as real or impressive as it initially appears.

    • It's easy to mistake him for a leader, but underneath it all, he's just a jack tar.

      In this context, the idiom is used to challenge someone's authority or status. Perhaps this person isnewly promoted or trying to take on more responsibility than they're qualified for. By calling them a "jack tar," we're implying that their facade of leadership is misleading and that they're really just an inexperienced or unskilled person.

    • She might have all the right credentials, but I've seen enough jack tars to know that she's not the real deal.

      This final example shows how the idiom can be used as a way to express skepticism or distrust. Perhaps this person is trying to impress us with their resume or accomplishments, but we're not convinced that they have the true skills or knowledge that they're claiming. By comparing them to a "jack tar," we're suggesting that they might be trying to put on airs or pretend to be something they're not.


    The idiom "Jack tar" can be used to refer to a sailor or someone who is tough and experienced in a particular field. It is a versatile term that can be used in various contexts to describe individuals with specific skills or characteristics.

    Origin of "Jack tar"

    The term "Jack tar" originated in the British Royal Navy in the 17th century. "Jack" was a common nickname for a sailor, and "tar" referred to the waterproofing substance used on ships, which sailors would often be covered in. Over time, the term "Jack tar" became synonymous with sailors in general. It eventually evolved to also describe someone who is tough and experienced, regardless of their occupation. The idiom has since become a popular and enduring way to refer to sailors or skilled individuals.