Definition of


  1. (noun, act) a light touch or stroke
  2. (noun, act) the act of tapping a telephone or telegraph line to get information
  3. (noun, artifact) a plug for a bunghole in a cask
  4. (noun, artifact) a tool for cutting female (internal) screw threads
  5. (noun, artifact) a small metal plate that attaches to the toe or heel of a shoe (as in tap dancing)
  6. (noun, artifact) a faucet for drawing water from a pipe or cask
  7. (noun, event) the sound made by a gentle blow
  8. (noun, event) a gentle blow
  9. (verb, communication) make a solicitation or entreaty for something; request urgently or persistently
    My neighbor keeps soliciting money for different charities
  10. (verb, consumption) draw from; make good use of
  11. (verb, contact) strike lightly
  12. (verb, contact) cut a female screw thread with a tap
  13. (verb, contact) pierce in order to draw a liquid from
    tap a keg of beer
  14. (verb, motion) draw (liquor) from a tap
  15. (verb, motion) dance and make rhythmic clicking sounds by means of metal plates nailed to the sole of the dance shoes
  16. (verb, motion) walk with a tapping sound
  17. (verb, perception) make light, repeated taps on a surface
  18. (verb, perception) tap a telephone or telegraph wire to get information
    Is this hotel room bugged?
  19. (verb, possession) draw from or dip into to get something
    tap a source of money
  20. (verb, possession) furnish with a tap or spout, so as to be able to draw liquid from it

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Tap

  1. "strike lightly," early 13c., from O.Fr. taper "tap, rap, strike," from a Gallo-Romance or Germanic source ultimately imitative of the sound of rapping. Meaning "to designate for some duty or for membership" is recorded from 1952, from notion of a tap on the shoulder. The noun is attested from c.1300. Tap dancer first recorded 1927, from tap (n.) in the sen… more
  2. "stopper, faucet," O.E. t?ppa, from P.Gmc. *tappon (cf. M.Du. tappe, Du. tap, O.H.G. zapfo, Ger. zapfen). Originally a tapering cylindrical peg (hence taproot). Meaning "device to listen in secretly on telephone calls" is from 1923, from the verb in this sense, originally (1869) with reference to telegraph wires. Phrase on tap… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

Note: If you're looking to improve your vocabulary right now, we highly recommend Ultimate Vocabulary Software.

Word of the Moment


cast a shadow upon