Definition of taper in English:



  • 1Diminish or reduce or cause to diminish or reduce in thickness toward one end.

    [no object] ‘the tail tapers to a rounded tip’
    [with object] ‘David asked my dressmaker to taper his trousers’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each lash is fetchingly tapered to a point, and is much thicker and almost double the length of my old substandard wisps.’
    • ‘Behind the glasses, her brown eyes were equally huge, her face tapering down to a small mouth.’
    • ‘Her long tapered fingers lost themselves in the silky strands of his dark blonde hair.’
    • ‘The rafters are three and one-half inches thick by six inches wide at the eaves tapering to four inches wide at the ridge.’
    • ‘The knitted dress is yellow and cream and tapered at the bottom.’
    • ‘They look vaguely similar to the sharks of Jaws infamy, huge midriffs tapering to a point at snout and tail.’
    • ‘Most blades are uniformly thick along their length, but some are tapered towards the heel.’
    • ‘He created the buzz cut with regular-size clippers, leaving the top longer and tapering the sides.’
    • ‘The center of the pole was thickest, the other two points tapering slightly before ending at a sharp point.’
    • ‘The rear supports are tapered in front to form a comfortably angled backrest.’
    • ‘These magnificent north American specimens soar to a height of 40m on a perfectly straight, gently tapering trunk.’
    • ‘The long, tapering, full-coated tail is carried lower than the body but does not trail.’
    • ‘From the long tapering fingers of her right hand a golden chain dangled and swinging idly from its end hung a small iridescent vial.’
    • ‘Their fur is lighter and less dense than European wild cats, and their tails are thin and tapering.’
    • ‘The original 1954 A-frame church had tapering glulam columns and a stone exterior.’
    • ‘They're not the normal sweet pepper shape, they're long and tapered.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 dynamic boom in global investing and bank lending that fueled far-flung industrialization during the nineties has tapered off dramatically.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Oil inventories typically grow at this time of year as gasoline demand tapers off and refiners briefly shut down to perform maintenance.’
      • ‘Individuals should gradually taper off caffeine.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yes as countries become more industrialized their population growth tapers off.’


  • 1A slender candle.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Place skinny little taper candles and twisted glass icicle ornaments in others.’
    • ‘Sealing kits are available at most fine stationary stores, but a regular taper candle in a dark colour works just as well.’
    • ‘Inside the wreath, place a large candle or several tapers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had draped the table with a fine white linen cloth and added a single tall blue taper candle to the center.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He invites the children to sit with him, and they bunch up around him, holding lit tapers.’
    • ‘We went to the section where the candles were kept, and I picked up a few black, gold and silver tapers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Absence diminishes moderate passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes tapers and adds fury to fire.’
    • ‘They're intended to hold tapers, but apparently putting them upside down is The Hottest Trend in home candle fashions.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Many people may feel that formal candles, such as tapers, are commonplace necessities for a sophisticated dinner party.’
    candle, spill, wick, night light
    dip, glim, rushlight, wax light
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A wick coated with wax, used for conveying a flame.
      • ‘The fire was caused by vandals who pushed a lit taper through the letterbox.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She said he then leaned over her with a taper which he lit and then used to light the massive fireworks.’
      • ‘"Ok," He shrugged, handing me a taper to light one of the little candles with.’
      • ‘Carissa lit a taper in the outer room and lit the lanterns in her secret room.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Light fireworks at arms length using a specially-made safety lighter or a taper.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Always light them at arm's length using a taper.’
  • 2A gradual narrowing.

    ‘the current industry standard taper of 5 degrees’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This manifests itself in the form of widely scattered stem tapers for tree segments of a given diameter.’
    • ‘Many patients have at least one recurrence of disease activity during the course of the taper.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The drug was given to 1 patient for 3 weeks, followed by gradual 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Visual observation suggested the presence of a strong taper in most of the studied taproots.’
    • ‘They both displayed full muscle bellies, dramatic V tapers, sleek waistlines, crisp tie-ins and loads of aesthetically pleasing details.’
    • ‘The latter situation is characteristic of shade-tolerant trees, where for a given diameter, the tapers are similar.’
    • ‘A well-built manifold will also have the proper degree of taper to the ports to maximize velocity.’
    • ‘I've been training and dieting to accentuate my shoulders and waist - my two strong points - and play up my V taper.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The micropipette was pulled manually to a gradual taper to ease insertion into the tissue.’
    • ‘A leaf spring consists of a number of leaves, all but one of which should have their taper already formed.’
    1. 2.1A gradual or incremental reduction.
      ‘with the taper in training, athletes can feel less hungry’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cutting back mileage is the key to a proper taper, allowing a runner's body time to recover after months of hard training.’
      • ‘Asian markets were mixed after the Federal Reserve chief hinted the bank could ease up on its stimulus taper if the growth outlook weakens.’
      • ‘A Citigroup survey suggested that participants' speculations of the odds of a taper in January rose to 45 %, from 25 % before the announcement.’
      • ‘While these runs may alleviate some of the performance anxiety that comes during a taper, most runners will pay for it during the race.’
      • ‘Pre-race nerves combined with the taper in your training can play havoc with the stomach.’


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.