touch of the tar brush

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

believed to be of British origin

Phrase[edit]

touch of the tar brush

  1. (idiomatic) Pertaining to somebody of mixed racial heritage; to signify someone is commonly (though not exclusively) of Afro-Caribbean or, to a lesser extent South Asian in their background and/or in their appearance.

Usage notes[edit]

It was not generally used for people that were unambiguously and distinguishably biracial. More often it referred to those for whom evidence of mixed ethnic attributes were perceptibly more subtle.

Since the expression is deemed to be fairly derogatory in overtone, even considered by some to be unequivocally racist, it is seldom used today.