Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tart v.

[tart n. (1)]

(Aus./N.Z.) to pursue women.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 9 Mar. 7/3: Girls he refers to as [...] tarts [...] ‘tarting’ means courting.
[NZ]D. Ballantyne Cunninghams (1986) 32: ‘Where you been all this time?’ his mother asked. ‘Down the library,’ he said. ‘I bet he’s been tarting,’ Joy said.

In phrases

tart (around) (v.)

of a woman, to act in a promiscuous manner.

[UK]J.B. Priestley Home is Tomorrow ii i 47: Jill: I know I’ve behaved badly tarting around. Riberac: [...] He ought to lose his temper — and beat you.
[UK]J. Barlow Burden of Proof 58: Middle-class dollies who were tarting around for a husband.
[US]A. Rodriguez Spidertown (1994) 12: She was a bright-eyed beautiful girl [...] Not tarting around in tight-ass putona gear.
tarted (up) (adj.) [tart up ]

1. usu. of women, flashily overdressed.

[UK]E. Bowen Death of Heart i iii 61: London, these nights [...] is like a governess gone to the bad, in a Woolworth tiara, tarted up all wrong .
[UK]C. Harris Three-Ha’Pence to the Angel 143: The tarted-up girls from Bow making up to chewing Yanks.
[UK]A. Sinclair My Friend Judas (1963) 187: I barged through tails and tarted-up totties over to the drinks.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 164: They like to see dolly-girls, all tarted up, false eyelashes, miniskirts and that.
[UK]P. Barker Blow Your House Down 128: There was this tarted-up kid, looking like I don’t know what.
[UK](con. 1960s) A. Frewin London Blues 20: Glam girls tarted up and expensively dressed like a page three bimbo opening a supermarket.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 11 Sept. 67: A succession of tarted-up cronies.
[UK]Independent 24 Jan. 37/2: I was focused on getting tarted up to go out and have fun.
‘Chelsea Summers’ in 28 Dec. [Internet] The Italian designer whose sandblasted, jewel-encrusted, baroque printed, and tarted up denim defined the over-the-top style of the Clinton era.

2. applied to anything overdecorated, e.g. a ‘theme pub’.

K. Amis I like it Here ii 21: A collection of tarted-up reviews .
[UK]K. Richards Life 425: Studio 54 in New York was [...] a tarted-up disco club.
[UK]V. McDermid Insidious Intent (2018) 41: The pubs had been tarted up.
C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] A tarted up truck with a colour scheme to rival the highway patrol.
tart up (v.)

1. of a person, to dress up.

[UK]J. Maclaren-Ross Of Love And Hunger 169: I’ll be all tarted up.
[UK]C. Harris Three-Ha’Pence to the Angel 103: You can ’ave time. You can spend it tarting yourself up.

2. of an object, to decorate, to ornament.

[NZ]F. Sargeson Hangover 135: A young man needs his wits about him when he embarks on that poor old tramp steamer called Higher Education, laddie. She’s all out of date even if she is patched and tarted up.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 81: The breweries tart up the pubs.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Yesterday Never Comes’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] That cabinet is definitely going to her shop to be tarted up and sold.
[UK](con. 1960s) A. Frewin London Blues 82: Mr Calabrese tarted up his little family café and gave it the name it has now; Modern Snax Bar (it used to be called Emilio’s).
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 245: It would have been a shame to tart up a nice place like this.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] Larry Conlan had chosen to stay in the original building. He’d tarted it up with new aluminium window frames and a brass nameplate.
tart with (v.)

to flirt with.

[UK]K. Amis letter 5 Feb. in Leader (2000) 40: Tarts with men or women.