Definition of taper in English:



  • 1Diminish or reduce in thickness towards one end.

    [no object] ‘the tail tapers to a rounded tip’
    [with object] ‘David asked my dressmaker to taper his trousers’
    ‘the five tapering fingers of her hand’
    • ‘He created the buzz cut with regular-size clippers, leaving the top longer and tapering the sides.’
    • ‘Their fur is lighter and less dense than European wild cats, and their tails are thin and tapering.’
    • ‘They're not the normal sweet pepper shape, they're long and tapered.’
    • ‘From the long tapering fingers of her right hand a golden chain dangled and swinging idly from its end hung a small iridescent vial.’
    • ‘The long, tapering, full-coated tail is carried lower than the body but does not trail.’
    • ‘Each lash is fetchingly tapered to a point, and is much thicker and almost double the length of my old substandard wisps.’
    • ‘The knitted dress is yellow and cream and tapered at the bottom.’
    • ‘Behind the glasses, her brown eyes were equally huge, her face tapering down to a small mouth.’
    • ‘These magnificent north American specimens soar to a height of 40m on a perfectly straight, gently tapering trunk.’
    • ‘The soft blue dress fell down to my ankles, and was tight on the arms from shoulder to elbow where it flared out, tapering down.’
    • ‘The massive green curve of the flank, rising up and tapering to the top of the fuselage, is surely the side of ship?’
    • ‘Cut the dough in two and roll it into sausage shapes, tapering at each end.’
    • ‘The final result is that the internal structure of the downward tapering cone is a complex mosaic of faults, dykes and pipes feeding the volcanic edifice.’
    • ‘They look vaguely similar to the sharks of Jaws infamy, huge midriffs tapering to a point at snout and tail.’
    • ‘The original 1954 A-frame church had tapering glulam columns and a stone exterior.’
    • ‘The center of the pole was thickest, the other two points tapering slightly before ending at a sharp point.’
    • ‘Her long tapered fingers lost themselves in the silky strands of his dark blonde hair.’
    • ‘The rear supports are tapered in front to form a comfortably angled backrest.’
    • ‘The rafters are three and one-half inches thick by six inches wide at the eaves tapering to four inches wide at the ridge.’
    • ‘Most blades are uniformly thick along their length, but some are tapered towards the heel.’
    narrow, become narrow, become narrower, become thin, become thinner, come to a point, attenuate
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    1. 1.1[no object]Gradually lessen.
      ‘the impact of the dollar's depreciation started to taper off’
      • ‘The quantity and quality of the updates definitely tapers off the busier I am, but I'm always, always glad to keep up the journal.’
      • ‘Gradually the spray tapered off to a trickle of hot water, then finally a stream of drips.’
      • ‘Oil inventories typically grow at this time of year as gasoline demand tapers off and refiners briefly shut down to perform maintenance.’
      • ‘With a doctor's care I have since tapered off the medication, but without it I wouldn't have become the loving parent that I am today.’
      • ‘On eBay, bidding seems to have tapered off dramatically.’
      • ‘My book reading has tapered off since discovering weblogs.’
      • ‘The dosage ranges from using the inhaler intensively for 5 minutes 24 to 48 times a day gradually tapering off after 3 months.’
      • ‘Individuals should gradually taper off caffeine.’
      • ‘Yes as countries become more industrialized their population growth tapers off.’
      • ‘The dynamic boom in global investing and bank lending that fueled far-flung industrialization during the nineties has tapered off dramatically.’
      decrease, lessen, dwindle, diminish, reduce, subside, decline, die off, die away, die down, fade, peter out, wane, ebb, abate, wind down, fall off, drop off, trail away, trail off, let up, thin out
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  • 1A slender candle.

    ‘he lit the tapers in the silver candelabra’
    • ‘Inside the wreath, place a large candle or several tapers.’
    • ‘They're intended to hold tapers, but apparently putting them upside down is The Hottest Trend in home candle fashions.’
    • ‘They welcomed us in, lighting tapers laced with damar gum that exuded a wonderful smell and were attached to the walls, giving their house the feel of a baronial hall.’
    • ‘He invites the children to sit with him, and they bunch up around him, holding lit tapers.’
    • ‘Votives and tea lights can be popped into old teacups, apples can be cored to hold a taper candle, or you can just set pillars and votives on top of an old wall mirror or picture frame used as a tray!’
    • ‘Absence diminishes moderate passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes tapers and adds fury to fire.’
    • ‘He had draped the table with a fine white linen cloth and added a single tall blue taper candle to the center.’
    • ‘Place skinny little taper candles and twisted glass icicle ornaments in others.’
    • ‘As the wick flared and settled, she placed the taper in a silver holder to allow it to burn out of its own accord.’
    • ‘These special seats, and sometimes the whole house, would then be lit up with wax tapers that burned cleaner and brighter than the usual tallow candles.’
    • ‘Five ancient and rust spotted iron candelabras held six lit, midway burned taper candles in black.’
    • ‘On the table, she placed two long taper candles, lending the room a romantic atmosphere.’
    • ‘Whether you are anticipating dressing up a formal dinner with elegant tapers or adding intimate votives to a small party setting, the choices are mind-boggling.’
    • ‘Within certain fragments of the early church, the baptism ceremony once incorporated the gift of a lighted candle or taper as a representation of the recipient's new spiritual Illumination.’
    • ‘To light their homes, early Americans relied on tallow candles, floating tapers that burned assorted greases, and lamps that burned fuels such as lard and turpentine.’
    • ‘In a small picnic basket collect a tablecloth, a vase with a realistic rose in it, 2 taper candles with holders (don't forget a lighter) and a lovely meal for two.’
    • ‘A large bed was across from the door, a nightstand with a taper candle was to the bed's right, a wardrobe was to the left of the room, an open doorway led into the connected bathroom, and a hand-woven rug adorned the wooden floor.’
    • ‘Sealing kits are available at most fine stationary stores, but a regular taper candle in a dark colour works just as well.’
    • ‘Many people may feel that formal candles, such as tapers, are commonplace necessities for a sophisticated dinner party.’
    • ‘We went to the section where the candles were kept, and I picked up a few black, gold and silver tapers.’
    candle, spill, wick, night light
    dip, glim, rushlight, wax light
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    1. 1.1A wick coated with wax, used for conveying a flame.
      • ‘Carissa lit a taper in the outer room and lit the lanterns in her secret room.’
      • ‘The food's good too, of course, especially the mince pies and the pudding, but doesn't it all taste so much better when you turn down the lights and put a taper to the candles?’
      • ‘The fire was caused by vandals who pushed a lit taper through the letterbox.’
      • ‘Next to us, people were fumbling with candles, some fishing for matches in their packs and purses, others using the taper below the row of candles to light their candle.’
      • ‘She said he then leaned over her with a taper which he lit and then used to light the massive fireworks.’
      • ‘Always light them at arm's length using a taper.’
      • ‘"Ok," He shrugged, handing me a taper to light one of the little candles with.’
      • ‘While she was gone a menial came by to light the ceiling lamps, a touch with a burning taper on the end of a pole and the gas wicks glowed to life.’
      • ‘Absorbed in the ramifications of this, I automatically lit a taper from a lamp in the hall and carried it through to light the oil lantern that hung in my room.’
      • ‘Light fireworks at arms length using a specially-made safety lighter or a taper.’
  • 2A gradual narrowing.

    ‘the strong taper of her back’
    [mass noun] ‘a small degree of taper’
    • ‘His biggest drawback is his lack of symmetry, a sticking point that you can see in the overdeveloped obliques that hinder his ability to convey a classic V taper.’
    • ‘This manifests itself in the form of widely scattered stem tapers for tree segments of a given diameter.’
    • ‘One of the big issues that can be overcome through the use of a turning machine in place of a grinder is the fact that the form tools ordinarily required for tapers, radii and chamfers aren't necessary for hard turning equipment.’
    • ‘A leaf spring consists of a number of leaves, all but one of which should have their taper already formed.’
    • ‘They both displayed full muscle bellies, dramatic V tapers, sleek waistlines, crisp tie-ins and loads of aesthetically pleasing details.’
    • ‘Featuring a slight taper, the new grips were narrower at the top and bottom than the wood grips on the pistol I had available for comparison and felt better in my hand.’
    • ‘A well-built manifold will also have the proper degree of taper to the ports to maximize velocity.’
    • ‘The drug was given to 1 patient for 3 weeks, followed by gradual taper.’
    • ‘The latter situation is characteristic of shade-tolerant trees, where for a given diameter, the tapers are similar.’
    • ‘Many patients have at least one recurrence of disease activity during the course of the taper.’
    • ‘I've been training and dieting to accentuate my shoulders and waist - my two strong points - and play up my V taper.’
    • ‘As a surface grinder removes stock from both sides of the blank, a ladder pattern emerges on the surface of the taper that forms the cutting edge.’
    • ‘The micropipette was pulled manually to a gradual taper to ease insertion into the tissue.’
    • ‘Minimal hand-carving blended the narrow taper of the leg into the foot turning and created the semblance of a carved cabriole leg at low cost.’
    • ‘Today's lines are durable and float higher - easier to pick up - and they are available in a variety of tapers to cover different applications.’
    • ‘Visual observation suggested the presence of a strong taper in most of the studied taproots.’
    • ‘There are two ways to do this, most rifle cartridges have some degree of case body taper and it's a simple enough matter to get rid of some and slightly increase powder capacity.’
    • ‘After the leader is cut, the top whorl and the sides of the tree are sheared to the desired cone shape and taper.’
    • ‘Each of the six machines are capable of performing all of the necessary machining processes on each knuckle including milling, drilling, reaming and cutting all ball joint angles and tapers.’
    1. 2.1A gradual or incremental reduction.
      ‘with the taper in training, athletes can feel less hungry’
      • ‘Asian markets were mixed after the Federal Reserve chief hinted the bank could ease up on its stimulus taper if the growth outlook weakens.’
      • ‘While these runs may alleviate some of the performance anxiety that comes during a taper, most runners will pay for it during the race.’
      • ‘A Citigroup survey suggested that participants' speculations of the odds of a taper in January rose to 45 %, from 25 % before the announcement.’
      • ‘Pre-race nerves combined with the taper in your training can play havoc with the stomach.’
      • ‘Be very wary of anybody saying that in the wake of this morning's release, markets now "think" that there's a significantly increased chance of a taper in December, or even January.’
      • ‘Analysts said her hint that the taper could be flexible suggests less of a determination to push ahead with policy tightening than was evident a few months ago.’
      • ‘Cutting back mileage is the key to a proper taper, allowing a runner's body time to recover after months of hard training.’


Old English (denoting any wax candle), dissimilated form (by alteration of p- to t-) of Latin papyrus (see papyrus), the pith of which was used for candle wicks.