Meaning of “tap” in the English Dictionary

"tap" in English

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uk /tæp/ us /tæp/ -pp-

tap verb (HIT)

B2 [ I or T ] to hit something gently, and often repeatedly, especially making short, sharp noises:

The branches tapped against the window.
I could hear him tapping his fingers on the desk.
I was tapping my feet (= hitting the floor gently with my feet) to the music.
Someone tapped me on the shoulder.

[ I or T ] to touch the screen of a phone, tablet computer, etc. in order to give an instruction for something to happen :

You can manage the repeat and shuffle options by tapping the screen once and swiping to the left.
When I tapped on the update button, the screen went blank.

tap verb (PHONE)

[ T ] to use a small device attached to a phone in order to listen secretly to what people are saying:

He suspected that his phone had been tapped.


uk /tæp/ us /tæp/

tap noun (DEVICE)

B1 [ C ] UK US faucet a device that controls the flow of liquid, especially water, from a pipe:

the hot/cold tap
Turn the tap on/off.

[ C ] UK a device that controls the flow of gas from a pipe

on tap

used to describe beer that is served from a barrel through a tap

available for use at any time:

Working in a library as I do, I have all this information on tap.

More examples

(Definition of “tap” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"tap" in American English

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tapverb [ I/T ]

us /tæp/ -pp-

tap verb [ I/T ] (HIT)

to hit something lightly and quickly, or to make a sound by doing this:

[ T ] She tapped the back of his hand.
[ I ] Casey is tapping away at his computer.

To tap is also to tap-dance.

tap verb [ I/T ] (OBTAIN)

to obtain or make use of something:

[ T ] Their try to tap the studentsnatural abilities.
[ I ] I can tap into computers all over the world.

tap verb [ I/T ] (TELEPHONE)

to wiretap a telephone

tapnoun [ C ]

us /tæp/

tap noun [ C ] (DEVICE)

a device that controls the flow of liquid, esp. water; a faucet:

Please turn off the tap.
on tap

Beer that is on tap is served from a barrel (= large container) through a tap.

tap noun [ C ] (HIT)

a quick and light hit, or the sound that this makes :

She gave him a tap on the shoulder.
There was a tap at the door.

tap noun [ C ] (TELEPHONE)

a wiretap:

They put a tap on her phone.


(Definition of “tap” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"tap" in Business English

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uk /tæp/ us -pp-

[ I or T ] to get or make use of something that exists, such as money, skills, information, energy, etc.:

The company has tapped a $8750 general fund surplus to pay for the building projects.
Ultra-deep water drilling techniques allow them to tap energy reserves once thought to be out of reach.
tap into sth They are driven by a desire to tap into this lucrative commercial market.
tap sth for sth Do we have any assets that can be tapped for capital?

[ T ] US informal to choose someone for a job:

tap sb to do sth The board tapped him to lead the company through bankruptcy reorganization.

[ T ] informal IT to put information, numbers, etc. into a computer, telephone, etc. by pressing buttons:

tap away at/on sth When I came in, she was tapping away at her computer.
tap sth into sth He tapped his password into the computer.
tap sth in Shoppers may also be asked to tap in identity numbers at tills.
tap sth out SMS allows people to send messages tapped out on the telephone keypad.


uk /tæp/ us

[ C ] a piece of equipment that controls the flow of liquid or gas from a pipe:

Water was pouring out of all the taps.
a gas tap
on tap informal

available for use at any time:

With the internet, firms have all this information on tap.

US ready or likely to happen at a future date:

Many investors are worried about what's on tap when the markets reopen tomorrow morning.
The company has about 115 new stores on tap for 2012.

(Definition of “tap” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)