• Device used to listen in secretly on telephone calls. [from 20th c.]
  • A device used to dispense liquids.

    "We don't have bottled water; you'll have to get it from the tap."

  • (mechanics) A device used to cut an internal screw thread. (External screw threads are cut with a die.)

    "We drilled a hole and then cut the threads with the proper tap to match the valve's thread."

  • A piece of leather fastened upon the bottom of a boot or shoe in repairing or renewing the sole or heel; a heeltap.
  • A tapering cylindrical pin or peg used to stop the vent in a cask; a spigot.
  • A place where liquor is drawn for drinking; a taproom; a bar.
  • An interception of communication by authority.
  • (computing) The act of touching a touch screen.
  • Liquor drawn through a tap; hence, a certain kind or quality of liquor.

    "a liquor of the same tap"

  • A connection made to an electrical or fluid conductor without breaking it.

    "The system was barely keeping pressure due to all of the ill-advised taps along its length."

  • A gentle or slight blow; a light rap; a pat.
  • (military) A signal, by drum or trumpet, for extinguishing all lights in soldiers' quarters and retiring to bed; usually given about a quarter of an hour after tattoo.


  • To touch one's finger, foot, or other body parts on a surface (usually) repeatedly.

    "She tapped her companion on the back to indicate that she was ready to go."

  • To designate for some duty or for membership, as in 'a tap on the shoulder'. [from mid-20th c.]
  • To put a new sole or heel on.

    "to tap shoes"

  • To furnish with taps.

    "If we tap the maple trees, we can get maple syrup!"

  • To place a listening or recording device on a telephone or wired connection. [from 19th c.]

    "They can't tap the phone without a warrant."

  • (gaming) To turn or flip a card or playing piece to remind players that it has already been used that turn.
  • To touch one's finger, foot, or other body parts on a surface (usually) repeatedly.

    "He was so nervous he began to tap his fingers on the table."

  • To make a sharp noise.

    "The tree, swaying in the breeze, began to tap on the window pane."

  • (combat sports, transitive) To force (an opponent) to submit.
  • To deplete, especially of a liquid via a tap; to tap out.
  • (mechanical) To cut an internal screw thread.

    "Tap an M3 thread all the way through the hole."

  • To strike lightly. [from early 13th c.]
  • To touch one's finger, foot, or other body parts on a surface (usually) repeatedly.

    "Lydia tapped Jim on the shoulder to get his attention."

  • (combat sports) To submit to an opponent by tapping one's hand repeatedly.
  • To draw off liquid from a vessel.

    "He tapped a new barrel of beer."

  • To intercept a communication without authority.

    "He was known to tap cable television"

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