- to become smaller or thinner toward one end.
- to grow gradually lean.
- to make gradually smaller toward one end.
- to reduce gradually.
- gradual diminution of width or thickness in an elongated object.
- gradual decrease of force, capacity, etc.
- anything having a tapering form, as a spire or obelisk.
- a candle, especially a very slender one.
- a long wick coated with wax, tallow, or the like, as for use in lighting candles or gas.
- taper off,
- to become gradually more slender toward one end.
- to cease by degrees; decrease; diminish: The storm is beginning to taper off now. I haven't stopped smoking entirely, but I'm tapering off to three cigarettes a day.
Origin of taper1
- a person who records or edits magnetic tape, videotape, etc.
Origin of taper2
Examples from the Web for taper
After that time, it is my hope that things will taper off a bit.Alex Haley’s 1965 Playboy Interview with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
January 19, 2014
Markets would have to defend against the possibility of a strong report reigniting October taper expectations.Government Shutdown Could Slow Housing Recovery
October 1, 2013
This is the dreaded “taper” that has lately given stock markets nausea.Bernanke Hints at Fed Exit, but Don’t Expect Big Name to Succeed Him
June 6, 2013
The massive earth walls are three stories high and taper toward the top.What's Better: Cell Phones or Indoor Toilets?
January 3, 2013
Then her hands played with my hair, which she let down and combed with her long, taper fingers.My Double Life
His eyes roved from taper to taper, as gathering knowledge ray by ray.Bride of the Mistletoe
James Lane Allen
Their branches do not taper, but only divide.to observe the laws common to all.Modern Painters Volume I (of V)
It was still dark; she gave me her arm, and I lighted her with a taper.
She sat down, feeling as if that taper were heating her back.The Fortune of the Rougons
- to become or cause to become narrower towards one endthe spire tapers to a point
- (often foll by off) to become or cause to become smaller or less significant
- a thin candle
- a thin wooden or waxed strip for transferring a flame; spill
- a narrowing
- engineering (in conical parts) the amount of variation in the diameter per unit of length
- any feeble source of light
Word Origin and History for taper
Old English tapur, taper "candle," not found outside English, possibly a dissimilated borrowing from Latin papyrus (see papyrus), which was used in Medieval Latin and some Romance languages for "wick of a candle" (e.g. Italian papijo "wick"), because these often were made from the pith of papyrus. Cf. also German kerze "candle," from Old High German charza, from Latin charta, from Greek khartes "papyrus, roll made from papyrus, wick made from pith of papyrus."
"shoot up like a flame or spire," 1580s, from taper (n.). Sense of "gradually decrease in size, force, etc." first recorded c.1600. Related: Tapered; tapering.