Tar*pau"lin (?), n. [Tar + palling a covering, pall to cover. See Pall a covering.]
A piece of canvas covered with tar or a waterproof composition, used for covering the hatches of a ship, hammocks, boats, etc.
A hat made of, or covered with, painted or tarred cloth, worn by sailors and others.
Hence, a sailor; a seaman; a tar.
To a landsman, these tarpaulins, as they were called, seemed a strange and half-savage race.
© Webster 1913.