tab

1
[tab]
noun
  1. a small flap, strap, loop, or similar appendage, as on a garment, used for pulling, hanging, or decoration.
  2. a tag or label.
  3. a small projection from a card, paper, or folder, used as an aid in filing.
  4. Informal. a bill, as for a meal in a restaurant; check.
  5. a small piece attached or intended to be attached, as to an automobile license plate.
  6. a small flap or tongue of material used to seal or close the opening of a container.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Digital Technology.
    1. (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.
    2. the display of this user interface element:I have too many tabs open in my browser right now.
  10. Theater.
    1. a small, often narrow, drop curtain, for masking part of the stage.
    2. tableau curtain.
  11. Aeronautics. a small airfoil hinged to the rear portion of a control surface, as to an elevator, aileron, or rudder.Compare trim tab.
verb (used with object), tabbed, tab·bing.
  1. to furnish or ornament with a tab or tabs.
  2. to name or designate.
verb (used without object), tabbed, tab·bing.
  1. to operate the tab function on a typewriter or computer.
Idioms
  1. keep tabs/tab on, Informal. to keep an account of; check on; observe: The police kept tabs on the suspect's activities.

Origin of tab

1
1600–10; most senses of unknown origin;in def 7 short for tabulator; in def 10 short for tableau; in defs 4, 15 short for table

tab

2
[tab]
noun Informal.
  1. tabloid(def 1).
  2. Slang. a tablet, as of a drug or medication.

Origin of tab

2
by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for tabs

Contemporary Examples of tabs

Historical Examples of tabs

  • Jim tipped liberally, because his firm was what is known as "easy on the tabs."

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • There was a friend of yores in a while ago who seemed to be sort of keepin' tabs on him.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

  • They unhooked four of the six tabs from the wall and donned them.

    The Judas Valley

    Gerald Vance

  • Even though I disappoint you ever so badly, you must know so, dear Tabs.

  • It was the best part of five years since Tabs had driven a car.


British Dictionary definitions for tabs

tab

1
noun
  1. a small flap of material, esp one on a garment for decoration or for fastening to a button
  2. any similar flap, such as a piece of paper attached to a file for identification
  3. 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
  4. British military the insignia on the collar of a staff officer
  5. mainly US and Canadian a bill, esp one for a meal or drinks
  6. Scot and Northern English dialect a cigarette
  7. keep tabs on informal to keep a watchful eye on
verb tabs, tabbing or tabbed
  1. (tr) to supply (files, clothing, etc) with a tab or tabs

Word Origin for tab

C17: of unknown origin

tab

2
noun
  1. short for tabulator, tablet
  2. slang a portion of a drug, esp LSD or ecstasy

TAB

abbreviation for
  1. typhoid-paratyphoid A and B (vaccine)
  2. Australian and NZ Totalizator Agency Board
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

Word Origin and History for tabs

tab

n.1

"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."

tab

n.2

"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.

tab

n.3

1961, shortened form of tablet (especially one of sugar containing LSD). As an abbreviation of tabloid (newspaper) it is 1990s slang. As a short form of tabulator key of a typewriter (later computer) it is recorded from 1916.

tab

v.

"to designate, label," 1924, perhaps an alteration of tag (v.2). Related: Tabbed; tabbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tabs

tab

see keep tabs on.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.