A tarpaulin or tarp is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water resistant or waterproof material, often cloth such as canvas or polyester coated with plastics such as latex or PVC. In some places such as Australia, and in military slang, a tarp may be known as a hootchie. Tarps often have reinforced grommets at the corners and along the sides to form attachment points for rope, allowing them to be tied down or suspended.Inexpensive modern tarps are made from woven polyethylene; this material is so associated with tarps that it has become known as polytarp.


The word "tarpaulin" originated as a compound of the words "tar" and "palling", referring to a tarred canvas pall used to cover objects on ships. By association, according to one theory, sailors became known as "tarpaulins" and eventually "tars" [ [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=tar] ]

When used for a tarp, the word "hoochie" (also "hootchie", "hootch", or "hooch") comes from the Japanese "uchi" ("house"). Huts in various parts of rural Asia are known by this or similar names, and during the Korean and Vietnam Wars English-speaking soldiers came to use the word to refer to their own makeshift shelters, which often consisted of little more than a tarp.

In English, the word is normally pronounced "TAR-paul-in". An American pronunciation would be "TAR-pole-in". A colloquial variation adds a vowel sound, resulting in the pronunciation, "tar-POLE-ee-in".


Tarps have multiple uses, including as shelter from the elements (i.e. wind, rain, or sunlight), a ground sheet or a fly in camping, a drop sheet for painting, for protecting the infield of a baseball field, and for protecting objects, such as unenclosed road or rail goods carrying vehicles or wood piles. Such was the demand for tarpaulins by the New South Wales Government Railways, up until 1990, they operated their own Tarpaulin Factory. ["A short History of the Tarpaulin Factory at Enfield" Johnson, Frank Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, September, 1999 pp343-347] It is also used on outdoor market stalls to provide some protection from the elements of nature.

Different kinds of tarpaulin


treated material will quickly become brittle and lose strength and water resistance if exposed to sunlight.

Polytarp has also proven to be a popular source when an inexpensive, water resistant fabric is needed. Many amateur builders of plywood sailboats turn to polytarp for making their sails, as it is inexpensive and easily worked. With the proper type of adhesive tape, it is possible to make a serviceable polytarp sail for a small boat with no sewing.

Perforated PVC tarp

Typically used for large medium advertising or for protection on scaffoldings. The aim of the perforations (from 20% to 70%) is to reduce wind vulnerability.


External links

* [http://rotordata.org/wiki/index.php/Tarpaulin_PVC A Rotorwiki article about tarpaulin waste]

See also

* Basha (tarpaulin)
* Fly (tent)
* Loue (tent)
* Gym Floor Cover
* Tent
* Visquine

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tarpaulin — Tar*pau lin, n. [Tar + palling a covering, pall to cover. See {Pall} a covering.] 1. A piece of canvas covered with tar or a waterproof composition, used for covering the hatches of a ship, hammocks, boats, etc. [1913 Webster] 2. A hat made of,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tarpaulin — c.1600, from TAR (Cf. tar) (n.1) + palling, from pall heavy cloth covering (see PALL (Cf. pall) (n.)); probably so called because the canvas is sometimes coated in tar to make it waterproof …   Etymology dictionary

  • tarpaulin — ► NOUN 1) heavy duty waterproof cloth, originally of tarred canvas. 2) a sheet or covering of this. ORIGIN probably from TAR(Cf. ↑tar) + PALL(Cf. ↑pall) + ING(Cf. ↑ ing) …   English terms dictionary

  • tarpaulin — [tär pô′lin, tär′pə lin] n. [ TAR1 + paulin, prob. < palling < PALL2, a covering] 1. a) waterproof material; specif., canvas coated with a waterproofing compound b) a sheet of this used for spreading over something to protect it from… …   English World dictionary

  • tarpaulin — [[t]tɑː(r)pɔ͟ːlɪn[/t]] tarpaulins 1) N UNCOUNT: oft N n Tarpaulin is a fabric made of canvas or similar material coated with tar, wax, paint, or some other waterproof substance. ... a piece of tarpaulin. ...tarpaulin covers. 2) N COUNT A… …   English dictionary

  • Tarpaulin — Persenning ist ein Begriff aus der Seemannssprache für jede Art wasserfester Abdeckung aus imprägniertem Gewebe, die für einen bestimmten Zweck zurechtgeschneidert ist. Imprägnierung wurde in früheren Jahrhunderten durch Teeren und den Einsatz… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • tarpaulin — n. to spread a tarpaulin * * * [tɑː pɔːlɪn] to spread a tarpaulin …   Combinatory dictionary

  • tarpaulin — UK [tɑː(r)ˈpɔːlɪn] / US [tɑrˈpɔlɪn] noun [countable] Word forms tarpaulin : singular tarpaulin plural tarpaulins a large piece of thick plastic or other material that you put over something to protect it from rain …   English dictionary

  • tarpaulin — noun a) A heavy, waterproof sheet of material, often cloth, used as a cover. Throw a tarpaulin over that woodpile before it gets wet. b) A sailor. Often abbreviated to just tar …   Wiktionary

  • Tarpaulin — Tar|pau|lin [ta: pɔ:lɪn, ta:pəlɪn], Tar|pau|ling [ta: pɔ:lɪŋ], der; [s] [engl. tarpaulin, älter: tarpauling, tarpawling, H. u.]: festes Jutegewebe für Säcke …   Universal-Lexikon

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