tar with the same brush

tar with the same brush

Meaning:

  • to think that somebody has the same bad qualities as others in a similar surrounding
  • to characterize someone with the same undesirable attribute as another
  • believe to be having the same faults

Example:

  1. Though the impression is that all government officials are corrupt, some of them are quite honest; its not fair to tar them with the same brush.
  2. The players of that team are a bunch of jokers, but the captain shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush. He is a great player.
  3. He may be from the same school, but don’t tar him with the same brush.
  4. While its true that most people from that region are violent, let’s not tar all of them with the same brush.
  5. Since Jack had worked closely with Bob, he was tarred with the same brush when reports of Bob cheating the company came out.

Origin:
This phrase is thought to have multiple origins, but none of them are confirmed. It may refer to the practice of marking sheep with tar, both to distinguish from another herd and also to protect it from ticks. Another reference may be to the cruel practice of tarring and feathering of criminals, wherein hot tar was poured over the criminal’s shaven head and feathers attached to the tar.

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