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tap 1 (tăp)
v. tapped, tap·ping, taps
1. To strike gently with a light blow or blows: I tapped you on the shoulder to get your attention.
2. To give a light rap with: tap a pencil.
3. To produce with a succession of light blows: tap out a rhythm.
4. To select, as for membership in an organization; designate. See Synonyms at appoint.
a. To repair (shoe heels or toes) by applying a thin layer of leather or a substitute material.
b. To attach metal plates to (shoe toes or heels).
1. To deliver a gentle, light blow or blows.
2. To walk making light clicks.
3. To tap-dance.
a. A gentle blow.
b. The sound made by such a blow.
a. A thin layer of leather or a substitute applied to a worn-down shoe heel or toe.
b. A metal plate attached to the toe or heel of a shoe, as for tap-dancing.
c. Tap dance.
3. Linguistics See flap.

[Middle English tappen, from Old French taper, of imitative origin.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
tap 2 (tăp)
1. A valve and spout used to regulate delivery of a fluid at the end of a pipe.
2. A plug for a bunghole; a spigot.
a. Liquor drawn from a spigot.
b. Liquor of a particular brew, cask, or quality.
4. Medicine The removal of fluid from a body cavity: a spinal tap.
5. A tool for cutting an internal screw thread.
6. A makeshift terminal in an electric circuit.
7. A wiretap.
tr.v. tapped, tap·ping, taps
1. To furnish with a spigot or tap.
2. To pierce in order to draw off liquid: tap a maple tree.
3. To draw (liquid) from a vessel or container: tap a new keg of beer.
4. Medicine To withdraw fluid from (a body cavity).
5. To make a physical connection with or open outlets from: tap a water main.
a. To wiretap (a telephone or communications channel).
b. To establish an electric connection in (a power line), as to divert current secretly.
7. To establish access to or a connection with: tapped a new market for inexpensive books.
8. To take advantage of; make use of: tapped voter anger to win the election.
9. To cut screw threads in (a collar, socket, or other fitting).
10. Informal To ask (a person) for money.
Phrasal Verb:
tap into
1. To establish a connection with; have access to: tapped into a new market for their products.
2. To take advantage of: tapped into their enthusiasm to improve the school.
on tap
1. Ready to be drawn; in a tapped cask: beer on tap.
2. Available for immediate use; ready: extra personnel on tap.
3. Scheduled or expected: What's on tap for the weekend?

[Middle English tappe, from Old English tæppa, tapered peg used as a stopper; akin to German Zapfen, pine cone, stopper, and perhaps also to Sanskrit stabaka, bouquet, bunch (perhaps originally referring to a bunch of grass that could be used as a stopper ).]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.