[ sap ]
/ sæp /
See synonyms for: sap / sapped / sapping / saps on


verb (used with object), sapped, sap·ping.

to drain the sap from.



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Origin of sap

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English sæp; cognate with Dutch sap; akin to German Saft juice, Old Norse safi; in def. 5 a shortening of saphead

Definition for sap (2 of 3)

[ sap ]
/ sæp /


Fortification. a deep, narrow trench constructed so as to form an approach to a besieged place or an enemy's position.

verb (used with object), sapped, sap·ping.

  1. to approach (a besieged place or an enemy position) by means of deep, narrow trenches protected by gabions or parapets.
  2. to dig such trenches in (ground).
to undermine; weaken or destroy insidiously.

verb (used without object), sapped, sap·ping.

Fortification. to dig a sap.

Origin of sap

1585–95; <French sape (noun), derivative of saper to dig a trench <Italian zappare, a military term, based on zappa hoe (compare dialectal Italian zappo he-goat < ?)

Definition for sap (3 of 3)

s. ap.

apothecaries' scruple; apothecaries' scruples. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for sap

British Dictionary definitions for sap (1 of 4)

/ (sæp) /


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

verb saps, sapping or sapped (tr)

to drain of sap

Derived forms of sap

sapless, adjective

Word Origin for sap

Old English sæp; related to Old High German sapf, German Saft juice, Middle Low German sapp, Sanskrit sabar milk juice

British Dictionary definitions for sap (2 of 4)

/ (sæp) /


a deep and narrow trench used to approach or undermine an enemy position, esp in siege warfare

verb saps, sapping or sapped

to undermine (a fortification, etc) by digging saps
(tr) to weaken

Word Origin for sap

C16 zappe, from Italian zappa spade, of uncertain origin; perhaps from Old Italian (dialect) zappo a goat

British Dictionary definitions for sap (3 of 4)


abbreviation for

South African Police

British Dictionary definitions for sap (4 of 4)

/ (sæp) /

n acronym for (in Britain)

Standard Assessment Procedure, the recognized performance indicator for measuring energy efficiency in buildings
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for sap

[ săp ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.