- 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 for sap on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for saps
It is like a habit-forming drug that, in victory, saps your elation and, in defeat, deepens your despair.The Night Vince Lombardi Lay Awake Brooding Over a 49-0 Win
January 25, 2014
To live with anxiety is to live with a leech that saps you of your energy, confidence, and chutzpah.How to Cure Your Anxiety? Read Henry James’s ‘The Portrait of a Lady,’ Of Course.
Ella Berthoud, Susan Elderkind
September 26, 2013
The Sex Addiction EpidemicChris Lee, Newsweek It wrecks marriages, destroys careers, and saps self-worth.The Week's Best Longreads
December 3, 2011
Besides, complaining about McConnell only saps valuable time away from objecting vehemently to Joe Lieberman.Things to Stop Bitching About in 2010
January 3, 2010
Strafford, The wind that saps these walls can undermine Your camp in Scotland, too.Browning's England
Helen Archibald Clarke
"You got these saps across the barrel," the general told him happily.Project Mastodon
Clifford Donald Simak
So what do we get—we get knifes in the faces, saps on the head—a concussion, you tell me!Police Your Planet
Lester del Rey
Many planters, however, leave the saps on the vines, saving the best only.The Peanut Plant
B. W. Jones
It saps all my strength and all my pleasure in life: and to no purpose.Katharine Frensham
- South African Police Service
- 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 saps
"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.