- the juice or vital circulating fluid of a plant, especially of a woody plant.
- any vital body fluid.
- energy; vitality.
- Slang. a fool; dupe.
- Metallurgy. soft metal at the core of a bar of blister steel.
- to drain the sap from.
Origin of sap1
- Fortification. a deep, narrow trench constructed so as to form an approach to a besieged place or an enemy's position.
- to approach (a besieged place or an enemy position) by means of deep, narrow trenches protected by gabions or parapets.
- to dig such trenches in (ground).
- to undermine; weaken or destroy insidiously.
- Fortification. to dig a sap.
Origin of sap2
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sapping
If I may say so, you need to get past this issue that is sapping your energy and demoralizing your followers.Do LGBTs Owe Christians an Olive Branch? Try The Other Way Around
December 14, 2014
Accusations of dishonor demonize and demoralize, making it difficult to compromise, and sapping the motivation to act nobly.Delegitimizing Israel Makes Peace Harder to Achieve
February 28, 2013
The president suffered a 12-point swing to Romney, sapping his 9-point advantage.Stop Panicking, Obama Supporters!
Doug Schoen, Jessica Tarlov
October 10, 2012
It was beginning to feel that its strength was sapping away.
Slowly but surely this practice is sapping the vitality of the race.The Heads of Apex
The wind had still the sapping softness of the afternoon, but rain had held off so far.Five Tales
But despite his resolution to live the loneliness was sapping Omega's spirit.Omega, the Man
Lowell Howard Morrow
For a long time a terrible malady has been sapping her life.Cuore (Heart)
Edmondo De Amicis
- a solution of mineral salts, sugars, etc, that circulates in a plant
- any vital body fluid
- energy; vigour
- slang a gullible or foolish person
- another name for sapwood
- to drain of sap
- a deep and narrow trench used to approach or undermine an enemy position, esp in siege warfare
- to undermine (a fortification, etc) by digging saps
- (tr) to weaken
- South African Police
- Standard Assessment Procedure, the recognized performance indicator for measuring energy efficiency in buildings
Word Origin and History for sapping
"liquid in a plant," Old English sæpm from Proto-Germanic *sapam (cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Dutch sap, Old High German saf, German Saft "juice"), from PIE *sab- "juice, fluid" (cf. Latin sapere "to taste"), from root *sab- "juice, fluid" (cf. Sanskrit sabar- "sap, milk, nectar," Irish sug, Russian soku "sap," Lithuanian sakas "tree-gum"). As a verb meaning "To drain the sap from," 1725.
"simpleton," 1815, originally especially in Scottish and English schoolboy slang, probably from earlier sapskull (1735), saphead (1798), from sap as a shortened form of sapwood "soft wood between the inner bark and the heartwood" (late 14c.), from sap (n.1) + wood (n.); so called because it conducts the sap; cf. sappy.
"dig a trench toward the enemy's position," 1590s, from Middle French saper, from sappe "spade," from Late Latin sappa "spade" (cf. Italian zappa, Spanish zapa "spade"). Extended sense "weaken or destroy insidiously" is from 1755, probably influenced by the verb form of sap (n.1), on the notion of "draining the vital sap from." Related: Sapped; sapping.
"hit with a sap," 1926, from sap (n.3). Related: Sapped; sapping.
- The watery fluid that circulates through a plant that has vascular tissues. Sap moving up the xylem carries water and minerals, while sap moving down the phloem carries water and food.
- See cell sap.