Definition of tar baby in English:

tar baby

Line breaks: tar baby

noun

informal
  • A difficult problem which is only aggravated by attempts to solve it: disposal of nuclear waste was a problem whose solution was endlessly delayed, a tar baby no one wanted anything to do with
    More example sentences
    • What makes their revolution even more unlikely is that they have collectively picked up the two ‘tar babies’ of American swimming - club support/development and governance.
    • I don't know how we would have let go of that tar baby once we had grabbed hold of it.
    • Yes, this is the enigmatic legacy of the 1960s, that tar baby of American cultural politics.

Origin

with allusion to the doll smeared with tar as a trap for Brer Rabbit, in J. C. Harris's Uncle Remus.

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Pronunciation: ˈmeɪlstrəm
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a powerful whirlpool in the sea