Main definitions of tap in English

: tap1tap2

tap1

noun

  • 1A device by which a flow of liquid or gas from a pipe or container can be controlled:

    ‘she turned the cold tap on’
    ‘the air-supply tap’
    • ‘They have control of the financial tap that nourishes them, and they will not easily give up power.’
    • ‘After a minute, I had calmed down, and I rinsed my hands in the cold water from the tap, splashing water onto my face.’
    • ‘He heard her turning the tap on, pouring cold water into the kettle.’
    • ‘Some critics have also found it ironic that many people who purchase bottled water end up refilling the containers from a tap.’
    • ‘For a long time it controlled the tap on how much surplus oil was entering the market.’
    • ‘Oil crooks there and elsewhere can find an unguarded length of pipe and make their own tap.’
    • ‘Perforations lead into a hollow stem which is controlled by a tap permitting small quantities of champagne to be withdrawn from the inverted bottle without the remainder losing its sparkle.’
    • ‘He pulled himself up and stumbled to the bathroom, where he turned on the cold tap and collapsed at the bottom of the shower, barely awake.’
    • ‘The leaflet also urges people to keep a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the tap until it is cold, because running the tap for one minute wastes six litres of water.’
    • ‘When you turn on the tap, unfiltered water flows through the faucet head at a full-pressure flow as with any conventional faucet.’
    • ‘Before hopping my way unsteadily to the bathroom where I managed to bend myself in ways I never thought possible to get my foot into the basin and under the cold tap!’
    • ‘The water must be freshly boiled, from the cold tap.’
    • ‘She turned the tap and splashed cold water onto her face.’
    • ‘The water from the bathroom tap was painfully cold.’
    • ‘There was an area with a concrete floor, a tin bath, a copper, a sink and a cold tap.’
    • ‘Look for a model with digital output temperature control, which delivers consistently hot water from the tap, regardless of flow rate.’
    • ‘Go fill a bucket or two from the cold tap now, before it's too late.’
    • ‘I shoved it into the sink, turned on the cold tap and let icy water wash over fabric.’
    • ‘I got the watering can and filled it with cold water from the tap and I walked outside.’
    • ‘Boil for one minute, then drain through a sieve and rinse under the cold tap.’
    valve, spout, stopcock, cock, spile
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British An electrical connection made to some point between the end terminals of a transformer coil or other component.
      • ‘By placing a tap in the primary winding, we could change the turns ratio so that with 456 volts input we could still get 120 volts output.’
      • ‘Loop length, the presence of load coil, bridge tap and wideband noise can affect DSL performance adversely.’
      • ‘So you'd have to hold on to the tap, and drop in the transformer plugged into an extension lead from your hallway.’
      • ‘The power system doesn't like it but it compensates for it by changing the tap on the transformer.’
      • ‘This power tap is connected to the expansion-slot rocker power switch which screws into a free PCI backpanel.’
      • ‘Thyristor-assisted tap changers use thyristors to take the on-load current while the main contacts change over from one tap to the next.’
  • 2A device connected to a telephone for listening secretly to someone's conversations:

    ‘those taps produced hundreds of hours of recordings’
    • ‘The phone tap that had been covertly installed into the their phones was working perfectly, broadcasting the conversation directly into a control room located deep within the recesses of his home.’
    • ‘Is that because it would have revealed a tap on his phone, a tap on his cell phone and the GPS locator?’
    • ‘Check it out, but be careful leaving comments - it won't be long before the Department of Homeland Security has a tap on his modem.’
    • ‘"But I have reason to believe now that there was a tap on not only these phones, but my line back at the loft, too."’
    • ‘I have a police scanner and a tap on the police computers and phone lines.’
    • ‘"We intercepted a message on a wire tap that someone was coming here tonight - to your house."’
    • ‘It, theoretically, allowed for a certain degree of scrambling that would be too low tech for most agencies to hack into with placing an actual physical tap on the phone; and it was the physical access to corridor twelve that made this method of communication the most secure thing they had.’
    listening device, wiretap, wire, bug, bugging device, hidden microphone, receiver
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 An act of listening secretly to someone's telephone conversation.
      • ‘It provides a great deal of ‘mobility’, as discussed by him in his press conference, since you would be sure of continuing a tap even if the subject moved to a new phone.’
      • ‘He was found guilty on Monday of disclosing information, documents and details from phone taps in breach of the Official Secrets Act.’
      • ‘So far, he has done precisely nothing - despite, as the telephone tap makes clear, having first-class intelligence.’
      • ‘It was the first-ever tap of a private computer network under a 1968 crime act that set legal guidelines for wiretaps.’
      • ‘Essentially, 59 % of Americans approve of letting law enforcement monitor e-mails in a manner akin to a phone tap and only as regulated by law.’
      • ‘Listening in on the tap, a man laughed, putting his head set down.’
      • ‘When a novel phone number places or receives an international call, that call is automatically recorded, and a tap stays on this line until the statistical analysis indicates that it is likely not a number of interest.’
  • 3An instrument for cutting a threaded hole in a material.

    • ‘Making threads in wood usually was done with a matched set of hand tools – a steel or iron tap for cutting internal spiral threads into a hole in a block of wood, and a screw box for cutting external spiral threads around a wooden rod’
    • ‘This is a hard narrow cone-shaped tool resembling a thread tap, except it has rough reverse threads on it.’
    • ‘The ‘choke tube thread cleaner’ not only removes all the accumulated crud from the barrel threads, but also functions as a large tap to restore damaged threads.’
    • ‘Mount the oversize bushing tap in any tap handle, apply cutting oil and re-tap the grip frame bushing holes.’
    • ‘Figure 31 shows the two main styles of tap for making internal threads in wood.’
    • ‘Page 233 shows three smaller taps (minus guide plates) for about two-inch diameter threads.’
    • ‘The Heiner screw box and its original tap are for threads of two-inch nominal diameter with two and a half threads per inch.’
    • ‘Nowadays, most tool purchases involve replacing the expendable items such as drill bits, sanding belts and specialty taps and anything else that wears out.’
    • ‘The surgeon uses a reamer and threaded tap to drill a hole to hold the titanium cage containing the bone graft.’
    • ‘A bottoming tap is never used to cut threads in an unthreaded hole, as the cutting edges lack the taper required to successfully start into such a hole.’
  • 4British A taproom.

    • ‘The tap was a veritable hub of activity and human drama.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Draw liquid through the tap or spout of (a cask, barrel, or other container):

    ‘several barrels had been tapped to celebrate old victories’
    • ‘Back at the ranch, burgers and dogs are fired up, a keg of Old Dominion Pale Ale is tapped and points are tallied.’
    • ‘But by the grace of God everyone stepped away from the bar and I was able to get the keg tapped, which now made me the most popular person in all the land.’
    • ‘‘Born-on’ dates on kegs will be logged when beer is delivered and again when tapped.’
    • ‘Barrels of beers await to be tapped by revellers here.’
    • ‘The event proceeded smoothly and the Keg was eventually tapped by two executives of the Federation of Students.’
    • ‘This reality was imposed on the citizens of Vratza who can now only freely wash or drink tapped water four hours a night.’
    • ‘The early closing time of pubs meant that carousers were forced to gather at dusk in private homes, where the host would tap a barrel.’
    • ‘How do you tap a full barrel that is laying on its side?’
    • ‘And if you have a truly artisan brewery, the taste of the brew may vary from keg to keg, depending on when it was brewed and how long it has been tapped.’
    • ‘The keg will be tapped at 6 PM with wine, other beverages and snacks provided.’
    • ‘To the back of Adian lay a bar, with flasks and wooden kegs that were tapped for liquid stacked in every available place.’
    • ‘When we get back the New Belgium kegs get tapped and we start getting primed for the night.’
    draw liquid from, drain, bleed, milk
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Draw (liquid) from a cask, barrel, or other container:
      ‘in the cellars of the monasteries the butlers were tapping new and old ale’
      • ‘Perennial shrubs often develop a dimorphic root system, where deeper roots tap a more reliable water source at depth.’
      • ‘Ferro cement tanks are being used in some cases while most of the units have used high density plastic tanks for storing the rain water tapped through the method.’
      • ‘Dropsy was treated by bleeding, tapping, and plantain and liverwort.’
      • ‘The water needed to be tapped from a reliable spring four miles away raising the cost of the scheme to £3,000 - to be paid by the householders.’
      • ‘The deep Israeli wells in the Jordan Valley have good water quality since they tap the Lower Cenomanian aquifer system.’
      • ‘This is not to say that if we tap and drain a deposit, it will somehow mysteriously fill up again.’
      • ‘The divided and conquered nature of the country has made it easy for oil to be tapped without raising the ire of countries worldwide.’
      • ‘President-elect George W. Bush has argued that the oil can be tapped without killing wildlife or marring the environment.’
      draw off, siphon off, pump out, decant, extract, withdraw, remove
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Draw sap from (a tree) by cutting into it.
      • ‘Each tapper will tap about 650 trees a day where they spent perhaps a couple of minutes at each tree.’
      • ‘Each family or group of families returned to a traditional location where they had stored utensils and had marked with an ax cut the trees they would tap.’
      • ‘Between 1910 and 1920, for example, the number of trees tapped for resin increased from 260,000 to 2,135,000.’
      • ‘In summer they might have found fresh honey in the woods produced by wild bees or perhaps tapped maple trees in spring to harvest sweet sap.’
      • ‘Maple tree growers tap into this stream for a crop of maple sap which is boiled off to procure a sweet syrup sought around the world.’
      • ‘With the warm days and cold nights, maple trees are tapped for flowing sap.’
      • ‘Local bars in some towns and villages will also sell poyo the sweet, lightly fermented palm wine tapped from the high tops of palm trees.’
      • ‘My mother did rubber latex tapping for a meagre wage to feed us.’
      • ‘The trees are tapped for latex by cutting spiral grooves in the bark and inserting a spout with a cup for collection of the latex.’
      • ‘Toddy, an alcoholic liquor, is made by tapping the tree, which is done by cutting off the tip of a flower stem.’
      • ‘A typical drink is palm wine, fermented sap tapped from coconut palm fronds.’
      • ‘We had a 90-year-old neighbor whose six ‘kids’ would travel from all over the eastern U.S. to be there the day he tapped his first tree of the season.’
      • ‘An unusual profession on the islands is calou (palm wine) tapping.’
      • ‘They climbed trees to tap palm wine or fermented grain beers from harvest surpluses.’
      • ‘A rubber tree can be tapped regularly throughout the year and the tree remains productive for 30 to 40 years.’
      • ‘It is a milky substance that is harvested by tapping the tree, a process similar to the harvesting of maple syrup.’
  • 2Exploit or draw a supply from (a resource):

    ‘clients from industry seeking to tap Edinburgh's resources of expertise’
    [no object] ‘these magazines have tapped into a target market of consumers’
    • ‘You just can't ignore the dramatic way he and his party have tapped into a well of discontent in New Zealand - for better or worse.’
    • ‘Germinating immediately, the seed sends out ‘rootlets’ to tap into the host tree's water supply.’
    • ‘Even with the electronic, sampling age in full swing, it's amazing that the art of mimicry still taps that transforming and ancient power.’
    • ‘I was pretty good at it, though I say it myself, mainly as I soon tapped into the most effective teaching method for young learners - noise.’
    • ‘But before any life existed, there must have been an energy source that could be tapped by primitive life forms.’
    • ‘Most homes and businesses tap into the water system illegally and pay no fees currently.’
    • ‘So if, in the Northeast, there's an emergency, we have two million barrels that we can tap into.’
    • ‘We then tapped into the support from the Rural Fire Service.’
    • ‘Don't tap into their wireless bandwidth without asking.’
    • ‘There's clearly a huge customer resource yet to be tapped; the question is how to go about it.’
    • ‘CNBC tapped into a gold mine, and the show developed such appeal that it began to affect the stock market on its own.’
    • ‘The city was able to tap into water from the nearby man-made Big Bear Lake to create its orange orchards.’
    • ‘Along the way, we realized how many potential resources were not being tapped for student training in our province.’
    • ‘The two-man crew has tapped into the oxygen supply of a docked cargo ship.’
    • ‘Foreign companies that thought they had tapped into one of the most profitable markets of the world will have to readjust their estimations.’
    • ‘The groundwater that is tapped into by wells on private lands is in fact a common resource, something nobody can effectively own.’
    • ‘This facility will be demonstrating how the research and skills base of the city's university can be tapped to produce real business returns.’
    • ‘The heat can be tapped to provide hot water for laundry, kitchen or cleaning services.’
    • ‘But unlike many fantasy writers today, Tolkien really tapped into mythic roots.’
    • ‘The magazine aims to tap into the mobile phone subculture which has developed during the last five years.’
    draw on, exploit, milk, make use of, put to use, use, utilize, open up, mine, turn to account
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1informal Obtain money or information from (someone):
      ‘he considered whom he could tap for information’
      • ‘Pittsburgh officials must tap tax-exempt organizations for more money in lieu of taxes.’
      • ‘Fishmongers are another group of people who have a wealth of information waiting to be tapped by inquisitive customers, and they all seem eager to advise and assist.’
      • ‘Making our way to a city centre nightclub, the former frontman ordered the taxi driver to stop at a cash machine and tapped me for my last 100 euros.’
      • ‘As for Paul himself, he is the oddball in his family whom they cannot quite work out, but tap for money as if he was a bank.’
      • ‘Why did we not see huge investors tap the banks for money?’
      • ‘Naturally, one of the distinct pleasures of meeting her is tapping her for anecdotes of this bygone era.’
      • ‘He, is an introspective artist whose success has left him in a lonely place, where livelihoods rest on his shoulders and old friends regularly tap him for money and favors.’
      • ‘In the immediate aftermath of the events, the public may not have thought of libraries as a source to tap for relevant information.’
      • ‘That may happen, but even if it does, they'll still have the fallback of being able to tap him for a few million when needs must.’
      • ‘Tapping that information requires more analysts and translators.’
      • ‘In the good old days you got the state to pay for your investment needs; now it is simply a case of tapping your biggest rival for the necessary funds.’
  • 3Connect a device to (a telephone) so that conversation can be listened to secretly:

    ‘the telephones were tapped by the state security police’
    • ‘He denied that his country's police had been tapping the telephones of the South African cricket team during their tour.’
    • ‘His car is regularly followed, and his telephone tapped.’
    • ‘Telephones are frequently tapped and mail interfered with.’
    • ‘The secret police shadowed the activists and tapped their telephones.’
    • ‘‘We don't have the time or the manpower to be tapping and listening to everybody's phone,’ he says.’
    • ‘For really big cases, the agency buys expensive software from a telephone company to tap phones directly.’
    • ‘A Scanner is a device that is used to tap into cell phone conversations.’
    • ‘The police were given wider powers to tap phones, record other conversations and intercept mail, for periods of up to one year.’
    • ‘Illegal tapping is punishable by up to two years' imprisonment.’
    • ‘Their papers and computers were confiscated and, although they were released on bail, their telephones were tapped and they had to endure constant surveillance.’
    • ‘And it is likely that there will be an effort to tap your hard-wired telephone as well - (more on that in a bit).’
    • ‘The FBI's breakthrough came after phones were tapped, and conversations overheard about recruitment difficulties for the scam.’
    • ‘Yet its outcome will determine your right to privacy from your freedom to avoid telemarketers to the Government's ability to tap into your conversations.’
    • ‘The authorities can now secretly tap into e-mails and mobile phone calls and track websites visited without the need for a judicial warrant.’
    • ‘He began to wonder if his telephone was being tapped.’
    • ‘At least, my information will confuse whoever is listening or tapping my phone.’
    • ‘Better tap their mobile phones and keep an eye on their emails.’
    • ‘The devices were intended to tap phone lines used by the various governments, and were reportedly installed at the building's switchboard.’
    • ‘Hackers can intercept our e-mails and tap our telephone calls.’
    • ‘We do not tap telephones or install eavesdropping equipment illegally.’
    listen in on, listen in to, wiretap, eavesdrop on, spy on, monitor, overhear
    View synonyms
  • 4Cut a thread in (something) to accept a screw:

    ‘on most vices, the metal jaws are drilled and tapped to accept screws’
    • ‘Why the company didn't drill and tap the new model for both standard receiver and tang sights, defeats me.’
    • ‘There's also no need to drill and tap the receiver.’
    • ‘The stud is drilled and tapped to accept the front action screw.’
    • ‘What's not obvious from the pictures is the handguard is drilled and tapped in a number places for other accessory mounts including sling swivels.’
    • ‘The Miniloaders sport a Monte Carlo-style stock and are drilled and tapped to accept a scope mount base.’
    • ‘In addition, it's also drilled and tapped for universal scope mounting blocks.’
    • ‘The simplest design is to bore a ‘T’ and then at each opening tap threads to hold the transducer, piston guide and PEEK tube connector.’
    • ‘It required only about 30 minutes to locate, drill and tap, deburr and then mount the new sight.’
    • ‘I've urged the company to drill and tap the receiver for a Lyman or Williams receiver peep sight.’
    • ‘I well remember what a tedious job it was to drill and tap a rifle receiver for a scope base, but tang sights often used existing holes and could be installed with ease.’
    • ‘While we had the spindle out of the planer, we decided to drill and tap the other two sides of the square cutter head, so four blades could be mounted if needed.’
    • ‘No sights of any kind are provided; however, the barrel is drilled and tapped for a Weaver base, and dovetailed for a front sight.’
    • ‘The T3's receiver is also drilled and tapped to accept other popular bases and rings.’
    • ‘The standard 1-degree indexing table allows easy access to complex prismatic parts or to drill and tap holes in one setup.’
    • ‘With the receiver drilled and tapped, and the barrel seat located, the next step was to make a takedown screw.’
    • ‘Drilling and tapping the tough steel of a receiver, while keeping the holes straight and aligned, is a task for a good machinist.’
    • ‘It's also drilled and tapped to accept a tang-mounted aperture sight.’
    • ‘All of the guns are factory drilled and tapped for tang sights from either Lyman or Marble.’
    • ‘For this I had to drill holes in the frame and tap them so the screws turn in the frame.’
    • ‘Early models were not factory drilled and tapped, but it was a simple matter to do so.’

Phrases

  • on tap

    • 1Ready to be poured from a tap:

      ‘the hard water most of us have on tap’
      • ‘For those who'd rather drink their dessert, there are 48 beers on tap and bottles sold by the bucket.’
      • ‘We didn't come across a single bar that didn't have at least ten different brews on tap.’
      • ‘There are Japanese beers available made from rice at the liquor store if you need that brew taste, but it's unlikely that your run-of-the-mill bar has Japanese imports on tap.’
      • ‘Australian technology and expertise will play a key role in a multi-billion dollar scheme to provide Manila's population of 11 million with drinking water on tap.’
      • ‘They have beer on tap too and a vast selection of vodkas.’
      • ‘The bar has some great beers on tap but get the staff to mix you one of their fruity daiquiris and you will be back for more.’
      • ‘Initially the emphasis was on getting water on tap to rural households, now Group Water Schemes must ensure that they provide their members with a wholesome and safe drinking water.’
      • ‘While each restaurant carries the 110 beer minimum (30 on tap, 80 or more in bottles), no two menus are alike.’
      • ‘At 5 p.m., beginning this week, the bar menu starts, served upstairs in a cozy nook outfitted with a small bar, a handful of seats, a chalkboard menu, and beer on tap.’
      • ‘This head is always present when poured the correct way either on tap or using a can containing a ‘widget’.’
      on draught, cask-conditioned, real-ale, from barrels, not bottled, not canned
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1informal Freely available whenever needed:
        ‘trained staff are on tap from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.’
        • ‘He can afford a private hospital room with edible meals and the best specialists on tap charging him huge fees - but there is little doubt that he would prefer to be in rude health and spending his money otherwise.’
        • ‘Whenever I feel everything's getting on top of me, I just pop in there and every kind of support and counselling is on tap.’
        • ‘With plenty of World Bank money on tap, the government borrowed and spent like a drunken sailor, artificially raising living standards and burying Hungary in debt.’
        • ‘It is lucky to have, in addition, thermal power on tap, thanks to its unique geological structure, which produces both volcanoes and glaciers and some of the most dramatic scenery anywhere in the world.’
        • ‘This juxtaposition seems topsy-turvy: education should be on tap and drugs should be difficult to obtain.’
        • ‘On this sort of trip, you can expect all the trimmings: a four-seater aircraft with a cruising speed of 450 mph, reclining leather seats, champagne and caviar on tap and a shiny black car to whisk you to your destination.’
        • ‘There is plenty of power on tap under the bonnet, the i-CTDi unit capable of turning on some real sporty driving, while bags of torque delivers instant acceleration, something not always available when needed from some diesel engines.’
        • ‘If that means offering these men positions at the Army War College or some other institution to keep their knowledge on tap, then I think we ought to do those things.’
        • ‘In the past the producer was simply required to make a batch of programmes in an integrated factory, within which a large range of back-up services were available on tap.’
        • ‘The catering wagon has been amazing because we get food on tap all the time.’
        on hand, to hand, at hand, available, ready, handy, accessible, obtainable, in reserve, standing by
        View synonyms
      2. 1.2North American informal On schedule to occur:
        ‘the first space walk is on tap for December’
        • ‘Now checking in with the world of entertainment, what's on tap, Brooke?’
        • ‘Our top story today of top stories, coronary bypass surgery on tap for Bill Clinton.’
        • ‘It's not 1989 in the Middle East, and a series of velvet revolutions aren't on tap for the immediate future.’
        • ‘Numerous other parties are on tap, many catering to the Hollywood set.’
        • ‘He already has at least three fund-raisers on tap in the new year.’
        • ‘Also on tap are the launch of a public diplomacy initiative to improve the U.S. image in the Muslim world and a possible trip to the Middle East.’
        • ‘But the real drama is on tap for tomorrow, when the mother of his accuser is due to take the stand.’
        • ‘A major march is on tap for August 6 in Atlanta to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and to mobilize support for extension of some of the Act's provisions.’
        • ‘Regardless of how he fares on Friday, he has another fight on tap for the fall, though he's a bit less pumped up about that one.’
        • ‘Lots of future campaign speculation, loads of laughs, food and music were on tap for the gathering of women movers and shakers.’

Origin

Old English tæppa ‘peg for the vent-hole of a cask’, tæppian ‘provide (a cask) with a stopper’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tap and German Zapfen (nouns).

Pronunciation:

tap

/tap/

Main definitions of tap in English

: tap1tap2

tap2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Strike with a quick light blow or blows:

    ‘one of my staff tapped me on the shoulder’
    • ‘The butler stood aside and tapped on the door four times to signal our arrival.’
    • ‘He didn't want to disturb her parents, so he climbed the tree and tapped on her glass.’
    • ‘To pollinate tomatoes, tap on the bamboo stakes once in the morning and once at night when you notice the petals of the flower are curved back.’
    • ‘She taps the ‘send’ button and I hear the computer printer crackle in the kitchen behind us as it prints out the order ticket.’
    • ‘Just the wind was hitting the tree branches outside which tapped at the window, giving the light from the front garden gate foul shadows.’
    • ‘When paintings are finished, porcelain slip is poured onto bat and tapped gently to remove any air bubbles.’
    • ‘Gently tap to eliminate excess spice mixture and then coat uniformly with bread crumbs.’
    • ‘Make sure the rooting hormone covers the part of the stem where you have removed the foliage, then tap gently to remove the excess.’
    • ‘He had some good moves and clearly fancied himself, but I tapped him with a left to the body and he dropped his hands, so I sent in a right hand and from then it was just a matter of time.’
    • ‘Every few inches he would tap lightly and then listen with the stethoscope.’
    • ‘I tapped him on the shoulder and, using my best traveller-sign-language, indicated that he had dropped them.’
    • ‘I exclaimed coming up and tapping my older sister on the shoulder.’
    • ‘Fill the spaces between plants with soil mix, tapping gently.’
    • ‘When the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, it is done.’
    • ‘With lifeless voices, singers march through the streets, striking bells and tapping on drums made of buffalo skin.’
    • ‘My finger tapped the ‘J’ key over and over, but not hard enough to make a letter appear on the screen.’
    • ‘He removed his own spectacles and tapped at the lenses with his gloved finger.’
    • ‘Turn box upside down and tap lightly on the bowl to remove excess chocolate.’
    • ‘She even smiled when he tapped her on the shoulder and held a grubby newspaper cutting under her nose.’
    • ‘The leaves of a tall oak tree tapped against the tiny glass window.’
    knock, rap, strike, beat, drum, peck
    touch, pat, nudge, strike lightly, slap lightly, jab, poke, dig, shove, hit
    knock, rap, strike, beat, peck
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Strike (something) against something else with a quick light blow or blows:
      ‘Gloria was tapping her feet in time to the music’
      • ‘She told him as her fingers gently tapped on her half empty coffee cup.’
      • ‘He sat staring out the window with his elbows on the arm rests and his thumbs under his chin, slowly tapping his two index fingers together as he planned his next step.’
      • ‘The latter was tapping her old, brittle foot impatiently against the cold marble of the palace floor.’
      • ‘Fill pan with cheesecake mixture, tap on counter and let stand for 10 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to surface.’
      • ‘She absently tapped her artistry pencil on the sketch paper as she stared out onto the whitened garden with unseeing eyes.’
      • ‘Drinking glasses filled to varying levels with water and tapped lightly with a teaspoon or cake fork can produce a beautiful tune.’
      • ‘Her hands slowed down and she tapped her long manicured fingers against the desk, making a click, click sound with every tap.’
      • ‘The one that spoke wore his strawberry blond hair in a braid and was tapping a wickedly curved sword against his shoulder, looking none too impressed with the man below him.’
      • ‘Did you know that papal death is officially determined by the Cardinal Chamberlain by gently tapping the late Pope's head thrice with a silver hammer?’
      • ‘He taps his cue stick against the table edge, thinking.’
      • ‘He reached out and tapped my nose with his finger in a loving way.’
      • ‘She tapped the small wooden box against her palm and stared at the orange dust.’
      • ‘I tapped my mechanical pencil against my desk and sighed deeply, glancing at the clock from the corner of my eye.’
      • ‘He offered him a beer from the six-pack dangling on his finger, then tapped his can against Wylie's.’
      • ‘If you did then they came round with a ruler and tapped you on the wrist.’
      • ‘With a slight laugh, she held up her mocha and tapped the cup against his.’
      • ‘He shifted slightly, but his foot tapped my ankle, causing me to yelp.’
      • ‘She was tapping her bright green fingernails against the desk.’
      • ‘He dropped out the old magazine and tapped his new one on his helmet, to get any sand out.’
      • ‘He raps his sticks together, then taps his cymbals in a way that recalls the playing knives and forks on the kitchen table.’
    2. 1.2tap something out Produce (a rhythm) with a series of quick light blows on a surface:
      ‘drums that tapped out a rumba beat’
      • ‘A string quartet was playing merrily in the corner and hundreds of feet were tapping out uneven rhythms on the mosaic marble floor.’
      • ‘I drummed my fingers lightly on the green felt of the table, tapping out a little rhythm.’
      • ‘His left hand tapped out a mindless rhythm on his thigh.’
      • ‘If you have an elementary or intermediate student who falls into this category, you might have her practice hearing the beginning of the piece in her mind consistently in the lesson before beginning to play, even tapping out the rhythm for you to demonstrate the tempo.’
      • ‘He began tapping a tempo out on the woodblock and nodded his head to the tune.’
      • ‘Emily and Anna sang along with the radio with Emily tapping the beat out on the steering wheel occasionally.’
      • ‘He hummed along with the radio and tapped the beat out on the steering wheel.’
      • ‘"Information," He taps the syllables out soundlessly against his temple, "You see, is the key."’
      • ‘She tore her eyes from them for a moment to spy the bodhrán player in the tree, tapping out her rhythm with her eyes closed, not noticing the spy amongst them.’
    3. 1.3 Write or enter (something) using a keyboard or keypad:
      ‘he tapped out a few words on the keyboard’
      • ‘His days as a ‘war correspondent’ come through ‘codes tapped out in the dark’.’
      • ‘Glancing at her, I saw her studying her phone furiously and tapping a message out.’
      • ‘But then again, we're stuck at a PC tapping away all day, while he is doing a job he no doubt loves, where people pay him for his silliness.’
      • ‘Keen to dampen down any rumours and to reassure staff that all's well, he tapped out a hastily written memo to his staff using his Blackberry.’
      • ‘First she wrote it on paper, then she tap tapped it into my laptop.’
      • ‘But he carried on regardless: tapping his column out on a typewriter in his apartment 15 floors above Central Park.’
      • ‘The student had tapped her name and mobile phone number into his phone and arranged to meet him for lunch before she left.’
      • ‘The electrical surge's frequency was tapped out via Morse code and then transformed into a vibration that eventually came out as sound.’
      • ‘She said that the offence was introduced to deter telegraphers from interfering with messages as they tapped them out and was enshrined in law in the Wireless Telegraphy Act dating back to the turn of the 20th century.’
      • ‘And we don't think the fighter pilots will be tapping IMs on keyboards.’
      • ‘To use them, we have to remember a four-digit PIN and then - my brain is exhausted at the mental gymnastics even thinking about it - tap the number into a keypad.’
      • ‘She muttered to herself and swam slowly over to the wall control panel, tapping in the correct key code on the fluorescent buttons to make the water vanish.’
      • ‘She did the same to the wire leads, making sure that they didn't get tangled up, before she tapped a command out on the terminal's interface to get things started.’
      • ‘I found that, once I got the hang of the technique, speaking messages was much faster than tapping them out.’
      • ‘If you have a short, sharp message to send, you can tap it out on the phone.’
      • ‘When the user is building a trail, he names it, inserts the name in his code book, and taps it out on his keyboard.’
      • ‘I do, however, have a reason for not writing, a reason that I can express in two horrific words, words I wince at even as my trembling fingers tap them out on the keyboard: FINAL EXAMS.’
      • ‘At the moment (for me, at least), this necessitates ripping out the necessary HTML and PHP from one of my existing pages, and hastily tapping something out in Notepad.’
      • ‘He tapped something into a keyboard and a map appeared on the glass, with one green dot and one blue dot.’
      • ‘She stands at a terminal, tapping things into the keyboard.’
  • 2British tap someone upinformal Approach (a sports player) unlawfully with a view to signing them to another club while they are still under contract with their current one.

  • 3US informal Designate or select (someone) for a task or honour, especially membership of an organization or committee:

    ‘he had been tapped earlier to serve in Costa Rica’
    • ‘He said he is especially happy that Bush has tapped William Pryor, the former attorney general of Alabama.’
    • ‘Lin is a respected corporate leader who has long been tapped for the economics portfolio, but declined to serve in past KMT cabinets.’
    • ‘They were tapped to lead a mission to rescue or recover.’
    • ‘The President tapped him last year be the Afghan ambassador, and he's shuttled between Kabul and Washington ever since.’
    • ‘The following year she was tapped as its commentator/model supervisor.’
    • ‘But an even higher profile role came in 1987, when Ronald Reagan tapped him to be chairman of the Federal Reserve.’
    • ‘He was tapped then as a possible future leader, a feat he achieved within 20 years.’
    • ‘He formed what was essentially a war cabinet, tapping prominent Republicans Henry Stimson and Frank Knox to run the War and Navy Departments.’
    • ‘Did you know, when he was tapped for the Vice President position, he was registered as a voter in Texas?’
    • ‘She tapped the Company to provide the finger foods and yummy sweets for the gathering.’
    • ‘Italian state radio said Italy might tap the Foreign Minister for the commission post.’
    • ‘But with extensive prior experience in camping, she was tapped to assist with the development of this new program.’
    • ‘Louisiana's governor has tapped the former CNN chairman to help lead the rebuilding.’
    • ‘He was tapped this year as police chief in Miami, which city officials hope to make the headquarters for the FTAA.’
    • ‘I was tapped by Charlie Mitten at Newcastle United and in those days you had to put in a transfer request.’
    • ‘When George W. Bush became president, he tapped Powell for the top job.’
    • ‘In third grade, I was tapped for the role of Martha Washington in the school play.’
    • ‘Talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey showed up for court duty in Chicago today and was tapped to sit on a jury in a murder case.’
    • ‘For the second time in a week, he has tapped a White House insider to fill a high-powered cabinet post.’
    • ‘It is absurd that a man that proved to be a failure as the education minister is to be tapped as a ‘promising’ candidate for the parliamentary election.’

noun

  • 1A quick light blow, or the sound of such a blow:

    ‘there was a sharp tap at the door’
    • ‘Again, as the night before, there came a light tap at her door.’
    • ‘The system will also be an advantage in that pregnant mothers records will be monitored for years and doctors will be able to get their history at the tap of a key on computer.’
    • ‘A light tap on his shoulder makes him turn around.’
    • ‘Despite one Newry player lying injured and being attended to by two team members he took the quick tap and scored.’
    • ‘It was coming up to midday when I heard a light tap on my door, followed by my Mom's voice.’
    • ‘Once you've poured the mousse into the oiled moulds, give each one a sharp tap on the surface to knock out any overlarge air bubbles, cover and leave to set.’
    • ‘At this point, she felt a quick tap on her shoulder, and turned to face the person.’
    • ‘I just started flipping through the channels when there was a light tap at the door.’
    • ‘Tapping the clock illuminates the display; a tap also turns off the alarm when it is ascending through its squeaky crescendo.’
    • ‘Suddenly she felt a tap on the shoulder and she broke eye contact with him to see an elderly woman handing her a handkerchief.’
    • ‘She jumped at the light tap on her shoulder, eyes widening in panic as she spun around quickly to stare into Sakura's amused dark eyes.’
    • ‘A quick tap on the first door to his right was all he gave before pushing it open and entering.’
    • ‘Remove the finished dome from the shaft with a light tap on the workbench.’
    • ‘A light tap at the door announced the arrival of the servant.’
    • ‘I listened to the tap of her feet against the wooden floor, and could have sworn that it matched my own heart's beat.’
    • ‘I felt a light tap on my shoulder and turned around to see Chad.’
    • ‘Her micro-course crème brûlées were faultless, the caramel cracking obligingly with the lightest tap of a spoon, the base just on the oozing side of set.’
    • ‘Whereas staff were once forced to walk to colleagues' desks to pass on information, the e-mail revolution now means much of this can be done in a tap of the computer keyboard.’
    • ‘She started toward her bed, but just as she took her first step, a sharp tap sounded at the French doors that led to the terrace outside her window.’
    • ‘All versions of the FTT use a tapping device that records the number of taps performed by a subject over a series of ten-second intervals.’
    knock, rap, strike, beat, peck
    touch, pat, nudge, light blow, light slap, jab, poke, dig, shove, pressure
    View synonyms
  • 2[mass noun] Tap dancing:

    ‘a rhythm much used in tap’
    • ‘She is a member of the Guildford School of Acting learning drama, musical tap, jazz dance and group singing.’
    • ‘Born in Rochester, New York, she started dancing when she was about seven, studying jazz and tap.’
    • ‘She grew up near Wilmington, Delaware, where she studied ballet and tap.’
    • ‘Have you heard of any good dance programs in California colleges that incorporate tap?’
    • ‘For a weekly fee of $650, each dancer gets a morning of either jazz, ballet or tap, followed by an afternoon of their own choice of dance curriculum.’
    • ‘Soon after she got a job as a dancing assistant in tap at Arthur Murray Studios.’
    • ‘Some of these classes are jazz and tap, but ballet is the main focus.’
    • ‘"I don't want to hear five years from now, ten years from now, that tap is a dying art form," he says.’
    • ‘The impressive cast of 18 dancers and drummers combine pantsula and tap with Tswana and gumboot dancing and the rhythmic beat of drums.’
    • ‘New trends are emerging - from the way tap is taught, danced, and choreographed, to the places where it is seen and heard.’
    • ‘His codified syllabi for tap and jazz made a major impact on the way these forms were taught internationally.’
    • ‘They are paired with six expert young dancers who each dance in a particular style - bhangra, street, musical theatre, pop, Irish dancing and tap.’
    • ‘He is first and foremost a classical dancer, but this essay into the realms of musical comedy shows that classical training is no hindrance to modern dance and tap.’
    • ‘Still, he says his classes in tap, jazz, and especially ballet greatly enhanced his athletic skills.’
    • ‘In some ways, of course, the return of tap signaled a kind of exhaustion in the choreographic impulse on Broadway.’
    • ‘He and I danced the gypsy tap, the mambo and the samba, just as we had in my garage.’
    • ‘Yet I'm still not an accomplished dancer after six years of tap and jazz.’
    • ‘When she eventually opened a dance studio, she hadn't heard of rhythm tap.’
    • ‘They don't reproduce the movie's numbers, although there are some overlaps: some tap, some ballet steps, some all-purpose chorus dancing.’
    • ‘Dance students of all ages will perform a variety of song and dance including tap, classical ballet, jazz, national character and expressive dance.’
    1. 2.1[count noun] A piece of metal attached to the toe and heel of a tap dancer's shoe to make a tapping sound.
      • ‘Popular in 19th-century minstrel shows, versions such as ‘buck-and-wing’ (danced vigorously in wooden-soled shoes) and ‘soft-shoe’ (shoes) developed as separate techniques; by 1925 they had merged, and metal taps were attached to shoe heels and toes to produce a more pronounced sound.’
      • ‘They were carrying canes and doing a sort of tap-dance, minus the taps.’
      • ‘This combination shoe has at a minimum a semi-flexible arch made of hard rubber, flexible inserts on the sides of the shoe upper above the arch and a hard leather sole and heel that can accept taps for tap dancing.’
      • ‘They have a metal tap on the toe/ball of the foot section, and another on the heel.’
  • 3US taps[treated as singular or plural] A bugle call for lights to be put out in army quarters:

    ‘the bugler played taps’
    • ‘Taps began as a revision to the signal for Extinguish Lights (Lights Out) at the end of the day.’
    • ‘After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound that call for Taps thereafter in place of the regulation call.’
    • ‘At taps, he personally inspects each man with standards that would make a recruit company commander flinch, says goodnight and turns out their light.’
    • ‘As the story goes, the General was not pleased with the call for Extinguish Lights feeling that the call was too formal to signal the day's end and with the help of the brigade bugler, wrote Taps to honor his men while in camp at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, following the Seven Days' battle.’
    1. 3.1 A bugle call sounded at a military funeral.
      • ‘Bugles sound taps for the police persons, firemen and city and government and at times white doves are released at mourning services that bid farewell to groups.’
      • ‘No bugle is to sound taps for his military triumphs.’
      • ‘The manual for Military Infantry Drill published in 1891 made taps mandatory at military funerals and playing taps remains an honour today.’
      • ‘The reading of the names ended at 11.20 am; a bugler played taps.’
      • ‘There aren't enough buglers to play taps for dead veterans, so the Pentagon has authorized a digital machine to play it instead.’
      • ‘The US Department of Defense is studying the use of a digital bugle to render taps at veterans' military funerals.’
      • ‘"Facing critical shortage of musicians for military funerals, the Pentagon has approved the use of a push-button bugle that plays taps by itself as the player holds it to his lips."’
      • ‘He and his fellow buglers have the unfortunate and often daunting task of playing ‘Taps’ at the memorial ceremonies for the division, leaving at a moment's notice at times to play the final respects for fallen comrades and those attending the services.’
    2. 3.2British (in the Guide movement) a closing song sung at an evening camp fire or at the end of a meeting.
      • ‘Seeing so many nationalities represented at the ceremonies, and hearing the World Song, Our Chalet song and Taps sung in so many different languages was a very moving experience.’
      • ‘Our unit has made a tradition of humming taps and having the girl that received the Good Turn squeeze recite the Promise.’
      • ‘Each week we find ourselves constantly scrambling to fit the opening, an active game, all the program work plus a campfire and taps into a two hour window.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French taper, or of imitative origin; compare with clap and rap.

Pronunciation:

tap

/tap/