Definitions for tar heel
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word tar heel
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a native or inhabitant of North Carolina (used as a nickname).
Category: Geography (places)
Origin of Tar Heel:
A native or resident of the American state of North Carolina.
A player on a sports team representing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A student of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tar Heel is a nickname applied to the state and inhabitants of North Carolina as well as the nickname of the University of North Carolina athletic teams, students, alumni, and fans. The exact etymology of the nickname is unknown, but most experts believe its roots come from the fact that tar, pitch, and turpentine created from the vast pine forests were one of North Carolina's most important exports early in the state's history. For a time after the Civil War, the name Tar Heel was derogatory, but it was later reappropriated by the people of North Carolina. Because the exact history of the term is unknown, a number of legends have developed to explain it. One such legend claims it to be a nickname given during the U.S. Civil War, because of the state's importance on the Confederate side, and the fact that the troops "stuck to their ranks like they had tar on their heels". The term "Tar Heel" gained popularity during the Civil War.
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