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Origin of taper

1
First recorded before 900; Middle English: “wax candle,” Old English, variant of tapur, dissimilated variant of unattested papur paper

historical usage of taper

English taper has no relatives in other languages. In Old English, tapur, tapor meant “candle, candlewick.” Tapur may possibly be a dissimilated form of Latin papȳrus “papyrus plant, papyrus, paper,” sometimes used as a candlewick. Alternatively, the Old English form could be of Celtic origin, akin to Irish tapar and Welsh tampr “a taper, a torch,” from a Proto-Indo-European root tep- “to be warm,” source of Latin tepidus “lukewarm” (English tepid ).
A taper is a candle that narrows at one end. The corresponding verb sense “to narrow gradually toward one end” appeared in the very early 17th century; the related figurative sense “to gradually decrease or diminish” dates from the mid-19th century.

OTHER WORDS FROM taper

ta·per·er, nounta·per·ing·ly, adverbun·ta·pered, adjectiveun·ta·per·ing, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH taper

taper , tapir

Other definitions for taper (2 of 2)

taper2
[ tey-per ]
/ ˈteɪ pər /

noun
a person who records or edits magnetic tape, videotape, etc.

Origin of taper

2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use taper in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for taper

taper
/ (ˈteɪpə) /

verb
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
noun

Derived forms of taper

taperer, nountapering, adjectivetaperingly, adverb

Word Origin for taper

Old English tapor, probably from Latin papӯrus papyrus (from its use as a wick)
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
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