tar with the same brush

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tar with the same brush (third-person singular simple present tars with the same brush, present participle tarring with the same brush, simple past and past participle tarred with the same brush)

  1. (transitive, figuratively) To characterize using the same undesirable attribute, especially unjustly.
    The C Party have tarred themselves with the same brush as the B Party.
    • 1865, Charles Dickens, chapter 6, in Our Mutual Friend:
      They are both tarred with a dirty brush, and I can't have the Fellowships tarred with the same brush.
    • 1900, E. Phillips Oppenheim, chapter 41, in A Millionaire of Yesterday:
      Were you tarred with the same brush as those canting snobs who doomed a poor old man to a living death?
    • 1920, Lucy Maud Montgomery, chapter 14, in Rilla of Ingleside:
      Susan still persisted in thinking that poets and tramps were tarred with the same brush.
    • 1922, James Joyce, chapter 13, in Ulysses:
      Place made me think of that I suppose. All tarred with the same brush Wiping pens in their stockings.
    • 2008, Terry Sweetman, "Kevin Rudd's public service demands nothing new," Courier-Mail (Australia), 6 June (retrieved 21 May 2009):
      And few would distinguish between state and federal public servants, tarring them with the same brush of disdain.


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