Main definitions of sap in US English:

: sap1sap2sap3sap4

sap1

noun

  • 1The fluid, chiefly water with dissolved sugars and mineral salts, that circulates in the vascular system of a plant.

    • ‘The combination of excess sugar sap and sunny days create an abundance of the pigment anthocyanin and the brilliant fall colors of crimson and purple.’
    • ‘Hummingbirds favored the maguey cactus, and people who extracted the plant's sap were also known as hummingbirds.’
    • ‘The forest quickly engulfed them but the normal freshness of flowers, sap, and growing plants were void in such a place.’
    • ‘Large modern sugarmakers use a complex system of plastic tubes that carry sap from the tree to roadside storage tanks or directly to the sugarhouse.’
    • ‘Place them in a plastic bag - a dry leaf will not be useful when we are identifying the virus with serological testing and we need the plant sap from the leaves.’
    • ‘Travellers, short on water rations, have died drinking the milky sap of its poisonous foliage.’
    • ‘Soybean aphids injure soybeans by removing plant sap with their needle-like mouthparts.’
    • ‘All weaken a plant by sucking sap, causing chlorotic spots on the tops of the leaves.’
    • ‘Woody stemmed plants, like Buddleia and plants that ooze sap, like Asclepias, should be cut and placed in hot water.’
    • ‘Cutting flowers or pruning back in the fall keeps the plant's sap running.’
    • ‘Vervet monkeys are omnivorous and consume a wide range of plant materials like fruits, seeds, sap, and flowers.’
    • ‘When it shoves its tubelike mouthparts into a plant to suck sap from the xylem, the insect may transmit a deadly plant bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, in its saliva.’
    • ‘Bees collect this gummy resin from tree sap, flowers, and vegetables, and then mix it with their own beeswax.’
    • ‘Traditional methods of identifying water stress use sensors to measure water pressure in individual, removed leaves, or the flow of sap through the plant stem.’
    • ‘A special type of beneficial root fungi, called mycorrhizae, actually grow into plant roots, feeding off plant sap but also providing water and nutrients to the plant.’
    • ‘Create a living smorgasbord that includes plants with berries, foliage, fruit, nectar, nuts, pollen, sap, and seeds, so critters can dine on what they like.’
    • ‘The dried sap of Aloe vera is a traditional remedy used for diabetes in the Arabian peninsula.’
    • ‘He prepared his own paints by combining vegetable and mineral colorings with tree sap in a grinding bowl.’
    • ‘With blood shortages for transfusions, companies are researching artificial blood, including human hemoglobin cultured in plant sap.’
    • ‘The sucrose is transferred in the plant sap from the leaf to the grape berry.’
    plant fluid, vital fluid, life fluid, juice, secretion, liquor, liquid
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Vigor or energy.
      ‘the hot, heady days of youth when the sap was rising’
      • ‘They were fresh and flourishing, full of sap and vigor, though many of them had been born long before him.’
      vigour, energy, gusto, drive, push, brio, dynamism, life, go, spirit, liveliness, animation, bounce, sparkle, effervescence, fizz, verve, spiritedness, ebullience, high spirits, enthusiasm, initiative, vitality, vivacity, fire, dash, panache, elan, snap, zest, zeal, exuberance
      View synonyms

verb

[with object]
  • 1Gradually weaken or destroy (a person's strength or power)

    ‘our energy is being sapped by bureaucrats and politicians’
    • ‘For example, you may in a rush grab processed or sugary snacks and drink lots of coffee, which can lower your immunity and sap your energy.’
    • ‘But I suspect that the close-sounding amplification was slightly sapping the singers' powers of expression.’
    • ‘The spirit of individualism is sapping the strength and resolve of early pioneers, but some of this spirit is still alive, and this makes it possible for the Israeli society to withstand the generation-long pressure.’
    • ‘Over the past months, as I had tried unsuccessfully to fight colds and infections, a tumor had been growing inside my chest, sapping my strength and will power.’
    • ‘Some theorists were attracted to notions of climatic determinism, believing that heat and humidity would sap Australians' intellectual powers.’
    • ‘The theory behind this global community outreach program of mine is that the quickest and easiest way to sap the power out of racial slurs and stereotypes is to dilute them with a bunch of nonsense.’
    • ‘Mildew destroys new shoots on apples and gradually saps the tree's vigor.’
    • ‘The moment of straining to control the extra power had taken some of my reserves, sapping my magical strength.’
    • ‘He kept his arms and legs moving, feeling the energy sap from his muscles.’
    • ‘To abandon this tradition would sap Australia's sense of itself.’
    • ‘Long debates and community objections more often than not sap initial energy.’
    • ‘It was before the blood disorder amyloidosis began sapping his strength, and he had just delivered a rollicking speech, without notes as usual, to a hugely appreciative audience.’
    • ‘Your official passion for evidence is gradually sapping your brilliant intellect and smothering your instincts.’
    • ‘There are thousands of Internet radio stations that sap the power of a small number of program directors.’
    • ‘By the fall of 1956, the movement was in full decline-its strength sapped by controversy, petty infighting, and public apathy.’
    • ‘Painkillers sapped his strength and cottonwooled his consciousness.’
    • ‘Would I have the nerve to pick out a wig that was fun and frivolous, or would the illness sap my sense of humor?’
    • ‘But for businesses, foreign competition saps pricing power, forcing companies to improve efficiency and cut costs.’
    • ‘Gradually but surely, that tiresome old anecdote has sapped my strength, undermined my constitution, withered my life.’
    • ‘She was also there as carer when Alzheimer's disease sapped his memory in the sunset of his life at the couple's Bel-Air home.’
    erode, wear away, wear down, deplete, reduce, lessen, lower, attenuate, undermine, exhaust, impair, drain, bleed, consume
    drain, empty, exhaust, deprive, milk
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1sap someone of Drain someone of (strength or power)
      ‘her illness had sapped her of energy and life’
      • ‘The last vision had been so vivid that it had sapped her of nearly all of her strength.’
      • ‘Too much anxiety or fear leads to a constant flood of adrenaline in your body, which can eventually sap you of energy.’
      • ‘He might be back, too, if his mysterious benign tumor stops sapping him of his strength.’
      • ‘Overcooking vegetables saps them of flavour and texture and makes them far less healthy to eat, as the vitamins and minerals become lost in the cooking water.’
      • ‘Until now Zak, who can't eat and is fed through tubes in his stomach, only had to go on oxygen at night after his oxygen levels dropped sapping him of energy.’
      • ‘And it did, too, until he caught a virus that sapped him of his usual, boundless energy and he struggled the first two weeks of the season.’
      • ‘Pretending to be a happy guy around Stephanie was just sapping me of my energy reserves, as did listening to her, since these days she expected an actual answer instead of a nod.’
      • ‘Despite his physical fitness Jack's weight has already gone from 14 stone to 12 stone sapping him of vital energy.’
      • ‘What she had seen last week had sapped her of all energy.’
      • ‘Happiness saps me of the will to write, because there are plenty of other things that I could be doing, like frolicking merrily through forests, mountain biking, or charming people with my wit and erudition.’
      • ‘South Morang is a ludicrously boring place which saps you of the will to do anything but turn around and go home.’
      • ‘Minute by minute he was sapped of precious strength.’
      • ‘Last week was occupied with preparations for and the writing of the Obernewtyn Awards, which rather sapped me of creative energy.’
      • ‘Walking the short distance to the mall seemed to have sapped him of all his remaining strength.’
      • ‘He planned to sap Elisabeth of all her powers, and then to take over the bridge and all worlds.’
      • ‘This work, however, saps them of the strength required to fulfill their dreams.’
      • ‘I wondered why she didn't get up then I realized that shock had sapped her of her strength.’
      • ‘She even fed him and kept him healthy for six weeks, but producing milk sapped her of the last of her energy and she had to be put down.’
      • ‘He just didn't realize that, in addition to making him wheeze and sneeze, pollens could sap him of his energy.’
      • ‘Still, he's a flawed guy, and the Philistines capitalize on this by sending in top-secret operative Delilah, the seductive hottie charged with sapping Samson of his strength (no, not that way).’

Origin

Old English sæp, probably of Germanic origin. The verb (dating from the mid 18th century) is often interpreted as a figurative use of the notion ‘drain the sap from’, but is derived originally from the verb sap, in the sense ‘undermine’.

Pronunciation

sap

/sæp//sap/

Main definitions of sap in US English:

: sap1sap2sap3sap4

sap2

noun

historical
  • A tunnel or trench to conceal an assailant's approach to a fortified place.

    • ‘In the British army, a standard cry was ‘follow the sapper’, the term for those who, under engineer officers, dug the saps or shelter trenches used in the attack on fortresses.’
    • ‘Immediately after the explosion, the besiegers could assault the fortress or extend their sap trenches into the crater and reinforce them with gabions.’
    • ‘Major-General Pratt ordered his men to dig a long sap trench.’
    • ‘It took me over an hour to get there for I met all the infantry coming down the sap.’

verb

[no object]historical
  • 1Dig a sap or saps.

    • ‘The geophone, an instrument invented by the French during the War to detect sapping operations of the Germans underground, has been developed by U. S. Engineers for rescue work in mines, gauging tunnel borings, etc.’
    • ‘They complained that they were not allowed to use bombs or to sap and mine the streets held by the insurgents, and they did not want to give quarter to anyone any more.’
    • ‘The main section of this unit comprised of paratroopers, including those trained in sapping.’
    • ‘The engineers, in fortification and in sapping, were superior to those of other armies and already made use of electric detonators in the 1850s.’
    1. 1.1archaic with object Make insecure by removing the foundations of.
      ‘a crazy building, sapped and undermined by the rats’
      • ‘Finally it was found that the foundations were decayed, having been sapped by the constant flooding and it was decided to demolish the church and build a new one.’
    2. 1.2often as noun sappingGeography with object Undercut by water or glacial action.
      • ‘The beach systems are formed entirely by groundwater outflow and sapping where the water table intersects the beach face.’

Origin

Late 16th century (as a verb in the sense ‘dig a sap or covered trench’): from French saper, from Italian zappare, from zappa ‘spade, spadework’, probably from Arabic sarab ‘underground passage’, or sabora ‘probe a wound, explore’.

Pronunciation

sap

/sæp//sap/

Main definitions of sap in US English:

: sap1sap2sap3sap4

sap3

noun

North American
informal
  • A bludgeon or club.

    • ‘I hit him with a sap.’
    • ‘Too many of them jumped me, pinning me with claws and weight so they could use their saps and truncheons until I was in no condition to struggle.’

verb

[with object]North American
informal
  • Hit with a bludgeon or club.

    • ‘She sapped him again, this time in his solar plexus, and he fell, unconscious.’

Origin

Late 19th century (as a noun): abbreviation of sapling (from which such a club was originally made).

Pronunciation

sap

/sæp//sap/

Main definitions of sap in US English:

: sap1sap2sap3sap4

sap4

noun

North American
informal
  • A foolish and gullible person.

    ‘He fell for it! What a sap!’
    • ‘Some poor saps nominate their wife or mammy, but the 24-carat buck responds, ‘John Doe, managing director of company X’ (ie, the boss).’
    • ‘The poor saps (myself included) who have tried to use this Web site have already lost more time and leasing agreements than any benefit we might have earned through its availability off-campus.’
    • ‘He idly wondered who the poor saps were who would be saddled with the escort duty on that one.’
    • ‘You can groove with your honey while not feeling like such a sap.’
    • ‘Thank goodness the cameras are there to capture Lady Luck smiling on these heartbroken saps, who really just want to find real love.’
    • ‘If Brit-pop's in fact dead, there's a nation of lonely-hearted saps ready to pick up the pieces of shattered hearts from the rainy country and lead a world of crybabies to salvation.’
    • ‘Carey wanted the insipid, social-climbing saps to leave her alone.’
    • ‘Although, few came right out and said it, the implication was that socially concerned investors were good-hearted saps, destined for sub-par returns.’
    • ‘It is naturally assumed not only that we poor saps queuing in line need constant diversion, but that we need infantile diversion of the worst kind.’
    • ‘They most certainly wanted all the saps watching to believe in the sign's authenticity and go hunting for this mysterious website.’
    • ‘The message I get from this ad is total jerks and saps favor Carl's Jr's.’
    • ‘You haven't dragged some poor sap along all this way, have you?’
    • ‘Why not live in the moment - and make other saps pay your way?’
    • ‘Superficially, I can picture only saps or children falling prey.’
    • ‘I had thought about buying a place up here myself, but then I'd be obligated to entertain social climbing saps and I do enough of that when Parliament is in session.’
    • ‘Walk into any bar on a Friday night and she's sure to be there, working her delicate trade, soaking up free drinks as fast as she can get saps to buy them.’
    • ‘Television writers are usually tiny, weak, sunlight-deprived saps who are kept chained to a wall in a cupboard.’
    • ‘So what happens to those poor saps who write encyclopedias for a living?’
    • ‘This writer's contempt for the sensitive sap alone on a stool with his nylon-stringed guitar is matched only by his admiration for the one-man band-similar, but so much cooler.’
    • ‘By cutting taxes, we can make the saps work harder and raise even more money for the welfare/warfare state.’
    idiot, fool, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 19th century: abbreviation of dialect sapskull ‘person with a head like sapwood’, from sap (in the sense ‘sapwood’) + skull.

Pronunciation

sap

/sæp//sap/