Meaning of TAP in English


I. tap 1 S3 /tæp/ BrE AmE noun

[ Sense 1, 3, 5, 6: Language: Old English ; Origin: tæppa ]

[ Sense 2, 4, 7: Date: 1300-1400 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ tap 2 ]

1 . WATER/GAS [countable] especially British English a piece of equipment for controlling the flow of water, gas etc from a pipe or container SYN faucet American English :

Tap water (=water that comes out of a tap) is usually heavily treated with chemicals.

She went into the bathroom and turned on the taps.

kitchen/bath/garden tap

I washed my hands under the kitchen tap.

cold/hot tap (=the tap that cold or hot water comes from)

2 . A LIGHT HIT [countable] an act of hitting something lightly, especially to get someone’s attention

tap at/on

She felt a tap on her shoulder.

There was a tap at the door.

3 . on tap

a) beer that is on tap comes from a ↑ barrel

b) informal something that is on tap is ready to use when you need it:

We’ve got all the information on tap.

4 . DANCING [uncountable] ( also tap dancing ) dancing in which you wear special shoes with pieces of metal on the bottom which make a loud sharp sound on the floor

5 . TELEPHONE [countable] an act of secretly listening to someone’s telephone, using electronic equipment:

The police had put a tap on his phone line.

6 . BARREL [countable] a specially shaped object used for letting liquid out of a ↑ barrel , especially beer

7 . TUNE taps [plural] a song or tune played on the ↑ bugle at night in an army camp, and at military funerals

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ turn on a tap

Run some cold water into the bath before turning on the hot tap.

▪ turn off a tap

I forgot to turn the tap off.

▪ run a tap (=make water flow out of it)

She stood at the sink, running the tap to get a glass of cold water.

▪ a tap is running (=water is flowing out of it)

I think you must have left the tap running.

▪ a tap is dripping (=drops of water are coming out of it)

If the tap is dripping, change the washer.


▪ the cold/hot tap

She scrubbed her hands under the cold tap.

▪ the kitchen/bath/garden tap

The water coming out of the kitchen tap had an odd smell.

▪ a mixer tap British English (=one through which cold and hot water can run together)

He fitted a mixer tap to the bath.

▪ a running tap

Wash the cut under a running tap.

▪ a dripping tap

I could hear a dripping tap.

▪ a leaking/leaky tap (=with drops of water coming from the end )

The leaky tap had left a stain in the washbasin.

■ tap + NOUN

▪ tap water (=water that comes out of a tap)

In the test, people preferred tap water to bottled mineral waters.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ a gentle/light/soft tap

There was a gentle tap on the door.

▪ a sharp tap

A few sharp taps with a hammer will force the nail through the surface.

■ verbs

▪ give something/somebody a tap

She gave the dog a gentle tap with her umbrella.

II. tap 2 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle tapped , present participle tapping )

[ Sense 1-2, 8-10: Date: 1100-1200 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: taper 'to hit with the flat part of the hand' ]

[ Sense 3-7: Language: Old English ; Origin: tæppian ]

1 . HIT LIGHTLY [intransitive and transitive] to hit your fingers lightly on something, for example to get someone’s attention

tap somebody on the shoulder/arm/chest etc

He turned as someone tapped him on the shoulder.

tap on

I went up and tapped on the window.

tap something on/against/from etc something

Mark tapped his fingers on the tabletop impatiently.

She tapped ash from her cigarette.

2 . MUSIC [transitive] to make a regular pattern of sounds with your fingers or feet, especially when you are listening to music:

She tapped her feet in time to the music.

a toe-tapping tune

3 . ENERGY/MONEY [transitive] ( also tap into ) to use or take what is needed from something such as an energy supply or an amount of money:

People are tapping into the power supply illegally.

We hope that additional sources of funding can be tapped.

4 . IDEAS [transitive] ( also tap into ) to make as much use as possible of the ideas, experience, knowledge etc that a group of people has:

Your adviser’s experience is there to be tapped.

helping people tap into training opportunities

5 . TELEPHONE [transitive] to listen secretly to someone’s telephone by using a special piece of electronic equipment:

Murray’s phone calls to Australia were tapped.

6 . TREE [transitive] to get liquid from the ↑ trunk of a tree by making a hole in it

7 . PLAYER [transitive] ( also tap up ) British English informal if a football club taps a player from another team, it illegally tries to persuade that player to join its team

tap something ↔ in ( also tap something into something ) phrasal verb British English

to put information, numbers etc into a computer, telephone etc by pressing buttons or keys:

Tap in your password before you log on.

tap something ↔ out phrasal verb

1 . to hit something lightly, especially with your fingers or foot, in order to make a pattern of sounds:

He whistled the tune and tapped out the rhythm.

2 . to write something with a computer:

Brian tapped out a name on his small electronic organizer.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.