tar·​ry | \ ˈter-ē How to pronounce tarry (audio) , ˈta-rē \
tarried; tarrying

Definition of tarry

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to delay or be tardy in acting or doing
b : to linger in expectation : wait
2 : to abide or stay in or at a place


plural tarries

Definition of tarry (Entry 2 of 3)


tar·​ry | \ ˈtär-ē How to pronounce tarry (audio) \

Definition of tarry (Entry 3 of 3)

: of, resembling, or covered with tar

Examples of tarry in a Sentence

Verb Tarry with us a while. upon seeing the sun beginning to sink in the sky, we realized we had tarried too long on the summit of the mountain Noun a fable about the tarry of two Americans in a Scottish village that every century magically comes into existence for a day
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To avoid suspicion, the young men decided to tarry for a couple of days rather than cross into the neighboring socialist republic right away. Longreads, 2 Mar. 2022 Democrats cannot afford to tarry too long, clinging to a thin sliver of hope that Biden’s legislative agenda might still pass in some form. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 15 Jan. 2022 This unusual travel guide does not tarry with the practical needs of a typical tourist. cleveland, 30 Dec. 2021 Ladies and gentlemen, do not tarry, for this is your opportunity to waltz your way into high society, make use of those dance cards, and find somebody to burn for. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 28 June 2021 Other sea monster tales are less cosmic and more practical, acting as warnings to sailors or to people who tarry too close to the sea. Regina Hansen, WSJ, 24 June 2021 But while the shah tarried in Egypt and Morocco, an Iranian mob briefly seized the American Embassy in February. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 29 Dec. 2019 There was no time to tarry; the Pistons were scheduled to take off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport at 11 p.m., headed for Miami — which would allow for an acceptable bedtime before playing the Heat on Tuesday night. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, 13 Nov. 2019 God save you if the steak in question tarried on the grill a second after the timer bell went off. Bill Daley, chicagotribune.com, 14 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As the plane nears its descent, the cabin fills with a tarry stench. NBC News, 22 Nov. 2021 On Sunday, tarry globs washed ashore and tides pushed oil into fragile wetlands that provide habitat for 90 species of birds and other wildlife. Janet Wilson, USA TODAY, 5 Oct. 2021 Further in, the aromas grow more pungent, oily and fragrantly smoky; like going fishing, with background aromas of tarry rope and boat engine. Karla Alindahao, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 European oil-spill experts in contact with the Israeli authorities said the tarry nature of the oil suggested it could have been exposed to the elements for some time. Felicia Schwartz, WSJ, 23 Feb. 2021 That such beauty could be found on a tarry two-lane road among farm fields in Ohio proved that God was everywhere. Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2020 Behind the shop, in a long yard where hens peck and honey bees buzz, Zeringue manages a stable of cypress smokers, all stained a gleaming, tarry black from the constant, meaty smoke rising through them. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, 9 Nov. 2020 Over time, Zumthor had revised the building’s color from tarry black, which was controversial, to mild beige. Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker, 5 Oct. 2020 After decades of extraction, pumping California’s increasingly tarry reserves became tougher. ProPublica, 18 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Often, Petite Sirah produces a wine that is too tarry, too dense, too chewy. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, 1 Sep. 2020 Ingestion of sago palm leaves, seeds or other plant parts causes liver failure, usually signaled by drooling, vomiting, diarrhea or a tarry black stool, depression, appetite loss, abdominal pain, lethargy and jaundice. Kim Campbell Thornton, sacbee, 14 Mar. 2018 A sprig from a creosote bush infuses the steam in our shower stall with notes of the western Grand Canyon: tarry, resinous, bitter but rich. Michael Engelhard, Alaska Dispatch News, 1 July 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tarry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tarry


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1552, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tarry


Middle English tarien

Learn More About tarry

Time Traveler for tarry

Time Traveler

The first known use of tarry was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near tarry



tarrying irons

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Statistics for tarry

Last Updated

10 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tarry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tarry. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for tarry


tar·​ry | \ ˈter-ē How to pronounce tarry (audio) \
tarried; tarrying

Kids Definition of tarry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to be slow in coming or going
2 : to stay in or at a place


tar·​ry | \ ˈtär-ē How to pronounce tarry (audio) \

Kids Definition of tarry (Entry 2 of 2)

: like or covered with tar tarry smoke tarry boots

More from Merriam-Webster on tarry

Nglish: Translation of tarry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tarry for Arabic Speakers


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