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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Combine flour, soda, salt and cream of tartar in medium mixing bowl and add to creamed mixture, beating well.
▪ The ingredients of this particular concoction included garlic, mustard seed, tamarind and cream of tartar.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Tartar \Tar"tar\, a. Of or pertaining to Tartary in Asia, or the Tartars.


Tartar \Tar"tar\, n. [Cf. F. tartare.] See Tartarus.


Tartar \Tar"tar\, n. [F. tartre (cf. Pr. tartari, Sp., Pg., & It. tartaro, LL. tartarum, LGr. ?); perhaps of Arabic origin.]

  1. (Chem.) A reddish crust or sediment in wine casks, consisting essentially of crude cream of tartar, and used in marking pure cream of tartar, tartaric acid, potassium carbonate, black flux, etc., and, in dyeing, as a mordant for woolen goods; -- called also argol, wine stone, etc.

  2. A correction which often incrusts the teeth, consisting of salivary mucus, animal matter, and phosphate of lime.

    Cream of tartar. (Chem.) See under Cream.

    Tartar emetic (Med. Chem.), a double tartrate of potassium and basic antimony. It is a poisonous white crystalline substance having a sweetish metallic taste, and used in medicine as a sudorific and emetic.


Tartar \Tar"tar\, n.

  1. [Per. T[=a]t[=a]r, of Tartar origin.] A native or inhabitant of Tartary in Asia; a member of any one of numerous tribes, chiefly Moslem, of Turkish origin, inhabiting the Russian Europe; -- written also, more correctly but less usually, Tatar.

  2. A person of a keen, irritable temper.

    To catch a tartar, to lay hold of, or encounter, a person who proves too strong for the assailant. [Colloq.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-14c. (implied in Tartary, "the land of the Tartars"), from Medieval Latin Tartarus, from Persian Tatar, first used 13c. in reference to the hordes of Ghengis Khan (1202-1227), said to be ultimately from Tata, a name of the Mongols for themselves. Form in European languages probably influenced by Latin Tartarus "hell" (e.g. letter of St. Louis of France, 1270: "In the present danger of the Tartars either we shall push them back into the Tartarus whence they are come, or they will bring us all into heaven").\n

\nThe historical word for what now are called in ethnological works Tatars. A Turkic people, their native region was east of the Caspian Sea. Ghengis' horde was a mix of Tatars, Mongols, Turks, etc. Used figuratively for "savage, rough, irascible person" (1660s). To catch a Tartar "get hold of what cannot be controlled" is recorded from 1660s; original sense not preserved, but probably from some military story similar to the old battlefield joke:\n\nIrish soldier (shouting from within the brush): I've captured one of the enemy.\n
Captain: Excellent! Bring him here.\n
Soldier: He won't come.\n
Captain: Well, then, you come here.\n
Soldier: I would, but he won't let me.\n\nAmong the adjectival forms that have been used are Tartarian (16c.), Tartarous (Ben Jonson), Tartarean (17c.); Byron's Tartarly (1821) is a nonce-word (but a good one). Tartar sauce is first recorded 1855, from French sauce tartare.


"bitartrate of potash" (a deposit left during fermentation), late 14c., from Old French tartre, from Medieval Latin tartarum, from late Greek tartaron "tartar encrusting the sides of wine casks," perhaps of Semitic origin, but if so the exact source has not been identified. The purified substance is cream of tartar. Used generally in 17c. of encrustations from liquid contact; specific meaning "encrustation on teeth" (calcium phosphate) is first recorded 1806.


Etymology 1 n. 1 A red compound deposited during wine making; mostly potassium hydrogen tartrate - a source of cream of tartar. 2 A hard yellow deposit on the teeth.

  1. n. a salt used especially in baking powder [syn: cream of tartar, potassium hydrogen tartrate]

  2. a fiercely vigilant and unpleasant woman [syn: dragon]

  3. a member of the Mongolian people of central Asia who invaded Russia in the 13th century [syn: Tatar, Mongol Tatar]

  4. an incrustation that forms on the teeth and gums [syn: calculus, tophus]

Tartar (city)
For the administrative district, see Tartar Rayon.

Tərtər (also, Mir Bashir, Mirbäshir, and Terter) is a city in and the capital of the Tartar Rayon of Azerbaijan. The city was severely damaged by Armenian forces.

Tartar (river)

The Tartar is one of the tributaries of the Kura River. It is de jure located in central part of Republic of Azerbaijan, though most of the area where it flows is de facto part of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Tartar (horse, foaled 1789)

Tartar (later named Toy, foaled 1789) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the classic St Leger Stakes in 1792. One of the smallest horses to win a classic, he won the St Leger on his racecourse debut in September 1792. He won twice in the following season before racing without success in 1794.


Tartar may refer to:

Ethnic appellation
  • An alternative spelling of the name Tatars, an ethnic group in present-day Russia and Ukraine.
    • The Tatar language.
  • A member of the various tribes and their descendants of Tartary, such as Turks, Mongols and Manchus.
  • Tartar Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
  • Tartar, Switzerland, a village in the Grisons
  • Tartar Rayon, a rayon in Azerbaijan
  • Tartar (river), a river in Azerbaijan
  • Tərtər, capital of Tartar Rayon, Azerbaijan
  • Tartar sauce
  • Steak tartare, a meat dish made from ground raw beef
Chemicals Vehicles and military hardware
  • Tartar, a GWR Iron Duke Class steam locomotive
  • Tartar was one of the GWR 3031 Class locomotives that were built for and run on the Great Western Railway between 1891 and 1915; renamed Walter Robinson in 1901.
  • RIM-24 Tartar missile
  • Tartar Guided Missile Fire Control System
  • HMS Tartar, the name of several Royal Navy Vessels
  • Tartars, the name of the athletic teams from 1927–1999 at Wayne State University in Detroit.
  • Tartar on teeth, hardened dental plaque

Usage examples of "tartar".

Tartar race devolve on their captives the domestic management of the cattle, their own leisure is seldom disturbed by any servile and assiduous cares.

Its berries are more acid than the garden Strawberry, and make an excellent cleanser of the teeth, the acid juice dissolving incrustations of tartar without injuring the enamel.

All she saw was the parasail, and not the sky-boat beneath it, but she knew it marked the Tartar camp.

The houses of the Tartars are no more than small tents, of an oval form, which afford a cold and dirty habitation, for the promiscuous youth of both sexes.

Danube, his Tartar hero relieves, visits, admires, and refuses the city of Constantine.

In every age, the Scythians, and Tartars, have been renowned for their invincible courage and rapid conquests.

Tartars selling shashlik competed volubly with two Chinese touting illegal hooch in tin bottles.

Concentrating on unwriting, the secretary disgorged fried oysters fastidiously into her left hand bite by bite, then wiped tartar sauce off each oyster into a paper cup.

Other dye-stuffs, such as fustic, Persian berries and Alizarine yellow, are best dyed on a basic chrome mordant, which is effected when tartar or oxalic acid is the assistant mordant used, or when some other form of chrome compound than bichrome is employed.

We slept at Baidar, a Tartar village, where a maiden of that Moslem race was the only attendant at the Russian inn, and on the morrow we drove in three hours to Sebastopol, a distance of forty-two versts.

He ordered Kobe Beef Tartar on a Bed of Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms and Rack of Lamb ala Tandoori with Sauce Bordelaise, by no means the most expensive dishes on the menu.

With the wind at their backs, their scent was going straight toward the rocks, and the Tartar was making unnecessary amounts of noise, breathing heavily and brushing the bushes with his bowlegged gait.

Tartars and Calmucks usually as rank and file, the Russians and other Europeans as overseers, foremen, and skilled labourers.

Attila equalled the hostile ravages of Tamerlane, either the Tartar or the Hun might deserve the epithet of the Scourge of God.

If the Fuegians are Antarctic Esquimaux, the Patagonians are Antarctic Tartars, leading a wandering life under tents made of skins of horses and guanacos, and hating all settled habits, but not so utterly inhospitable and impracticable as their neighbours beyond the Strait.