verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- 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
Related Words for taper offslow, slacken, ebb, wane, dwindle, recede, taper, subside, decrease, diminish, dull, mitigate, dilute, erode, minimize, ease, shrink, impair, abate, narrow
Word Origin 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.
Become thinner or narrower at one end, as in The road began to taper off until it was just a narrow path. [c. 1600]
Diminish or lessen gradually, end by degrees, as in The storm finally tapered off. [Mid-1800s]