- a small flap, strap, loop, or similar appendage, as on a garment, used for pulling, hanging, or decoration.
- a tag or label.
- a small projection from a card, paper, or folder, used as an aid in filing.
- Informal. a bill, as for a meal in a restaurant; check.
- a small piece attached or intended to be attached, as to an automobile license plate.
- a small flap or tongue of material used to seal or close the opening of a container.
- Also called tabulator, tab key. a key on a typewriter that moves the carriage, typing element, etc., a predetermined number of spaces, used for typing text in columns, for fixed indentations, etc.
- Also called tab key. a key on a computer keyboard that moves the cursor a predetermined number of spaces, used for keying text in columns or form fields, for fixed indentations, etc.
- Digital Technology.
- (in a web browser window or in a spreadsheet or other application) a page displayed by clicking on or selecting a user interface element that resembles a paper tab:The third tab in the spreadsheet list expenses.
- the display of this user interface element:I have too many tabs open in my browser right now.
- a small, often narrow, drop curtain, for masking part of the stage.
- tableau curtain.
- Aeronautics. a small airfoil hinged to the rear portion of a control surface, as to an elevator, aileron, or rudder.Compare trim tab.
- to furnish or ornament with a tab or tabs.
- to name or designate.
- to operate the tab function on a typewriter or computer.
- keep tabs/tab on, Informal. to keep an account of; check on; observe: The police kept tabs on the suspect's activities.
Origin of tab1
- a small flap of material, esp one on a garment for decoration or for fastening to a button
- any similar flap, such as a piece of paper attached to a file for identification
- a small auxiliary aerofoil on the trailing edge of a rudder, aileron, or elevator, etc, to assist in the control of the aircraft in flightSee also trim tab
- British military the insignia on the collar of a staff officer
- mainly US and Canadian a bill, esp one for a meal or drinks
- Scot and Northern English dialect a cigarette
- keep tabs on informal to keep a watchful eye on
- (tr) to supply (files, clothing, etc) with a tab or tabs
- typhoid-paratyphoid A and B (vaccine)
- Australian and NZ Totalizator Agency Board
Word Origin and History for tabbing
"small flap," c.1600, possibly a dialectal word, of uncertain origin. Often interchangeable with tag (n.1). Cf. also Middle English tab "strap or string" (mid-15c.), Norwegian dialectal tave "piece of cloth, rag."
"account, bill, check," 1888, American English colloquial, probably a shortened form of tabulation or of tablet in the sense of "a sheet for writing on." Figurative phrase keep a tab on is recorded from 1890.
"to designate, label," 1924, perhaps an alteration of tag (v.2). Related: Tabbed; tabbing.
Idioms and Phrases with tabbing
see keep tabs on.