noun, often attributive
\ ˈtab \

Definition of tab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a short projecting device: such as
(1) : a small flap or loop by which something may be grasped or pulled
(2) : a projection from a card used as an aid in filing
b : a small insert, addition, or remnant
c : appendage, extension especially : one of a series of small pendants forming a decorative border or edge of a garment
d : a small auxiliary airfoil hinged to a control surface (such as a trailing edge) to help stabilize an airplane in flight — see airplane illustration

2 [ partly short for 1table; partly from sense 1 ]

a : close surveillance : watch keep tabs on trends
b : a creditor's statement : bill, check
c : cost the tab for the new program
3 [ short for tabulator ] : a key on a keyboard that indents text by a preset amount

4 [ by shortening ]

a : tablet
b : tabloid


tabbed; tabbing

Definition of tab (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish or ornament with tabs
2 : to single out : designate
3 : tabulate

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Synonyms for tab

Synonyms: Noun

account, bill, check, invoice, statement

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Examples of tab in a Sentence


Insert the tab into this slot to close the box. a notebook with index tabs The tab on the zipper is broken. He ran up a $200 bar tab. He put the drinks on his tab.


After you type your name in the first box, you can move to the next box by tabbing.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even if the tab is open but not visible, ReLive will refuse to work. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "AMD ReLive review: A stylish video capture tool for Radeon graphics cards," 31 Jan. 2019 In a typical month before the storm, the tab could reach $30,000 to run the slaughterhouse, refrigerators and processing operation. Andrew Scurria And Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Puerto Rico Picks Bidders for Ailing Power Utility," 20 Jan. 2019 Without the booze tab, going out to dinner sure becomes cheap. Jessica Migala, Good Housekeeping, "5 Major Dry January Health Benefits, According to Experts," 26 Dec. 2018 Lili Reinhart is popping up everywhere these days, from magazine pages to award shows to the Following tab of every teenager’s Instagram. Danny Murphy, Marie Claire, "Recasted: Who Would Star in a Clueless Remake?," 14 Sep. 2018 Just hover your mouse over the inbox tab on the left side of the screen. Kim Komando, Fox News, "10 useful Gmail settings you'll wish you knew sooner," 4 Aug. 2018 The average tab at a four-year in-state public college rose 3.1 percent to $20,770, and the cost at private institutions jumped 3.5 percent to $46,950. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "As financial burden rises, college students question value of education," 11 July 2018 On the General tab of the Settings page, scroll down the page to the Vacation Responder section. New York Times, "Taking a Vacation From Email," 25 June 2018 Last November, the California Public Utilities Commission rejected a request from SDG&E to have ratepayers pick up the tab in $379 million in costs related to three deadly wildfires in 2007 that ripped through San Diego County. Rob Nikolewski,, "SDG&E awards $1M to groups fighting wildfires," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Patriots’ decision to tab Georgia guard/tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel signals the opening of another pipeline for Bill Belichick, with old Nick Saban lieutenant Kirby Smart in charge in Athens. Albert Breer,, "Ten Things I've Heard Ahead of NFL Draft Rounds 2-3," 27 Apr. 2018 News that Auburn tabbed Greene, who held the same position at Buffalo, to succeed outgoing AD Jay Jacobs spread on Wednesday night. Tom Green,, "Auburn officially hires Allen Greene as new athletics director," 18 Jan. 2018 The Coyotes doubled up on Phantoms with their first of two fifth-round selections, tabbing defenseman Michael Callahan out of Youngstown with the 142nd overall selection. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes continue 'stockpiling' defense during second day of NHL draft," 23 June 2018 Cantabene tabbed junior Chris Hammerquist (12 G, 9 A) and sophomore Collin Tucker (9 G, 1 A) as the leading candidates to join junior Gray McKee (19 G, 14 A) as starters. Edward Lee,, "Review & preview: Stevenson men’s lacrosse," 21 June 2018 And yet within months of opening last summer, Superior Motors was tabbed by Food & Wine magazine as one of its 10 Restaurants of the Year. Michael Meyer, New York Times, "A Pittsburgh Area Restaurant That Trades Fussy for Fun," 7 July 2018 Eleven days ago, the Lakers were tabbed as early favorites with 7/4 odds. Jenna West,, "LeBron James Free Agency Odds List Lakers, Cavaliers as Favorites," 22 June 2018 The Colley-Matrix Rankings, long recognized by the NCAA as an outlet that crowns national champions, tabbed UCF as its champion in January. Matt Murschel,, "Former UCF coach Scott Frost doesn’t regret national championship comments," 10 May 2018 Darren Collision, the player Cleveland tabbed as the second-most dangerous, was held to three points on 1-of-7 shooting. Chris Fedor,, "Cleveland Cavaliers' typically explosive offense the surprising culprit as they face series deficit," 21 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tab.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tab


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tab


origin unknown

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Learn More about tab

Dictionary Entries near tab



Taanith Esther





Statistics for tab

Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tab

The first known use of tab was in 1607

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More Definitions for tab



English Language Learners Definition of tab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small, flat piece on a box, envelope, etc., that can be put into a hole in order to hold two parts together
: a small, flat piece that sticks out from the edge of something (such as a folder) and allows you to identify and find it easily
US : a small piece of metal, plastic, etc., that is pulled in order to open or close something



English Language Learners Definition of tab (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a small, identifying label (called a tab) on something
US, informal : to say that (someone or something) will do something or have a particular role or purpose
: to hit the tab key on a computer or typewriter


\ ˈtab \

Kids Definition of tab

1 : a short flap or tag attached to something for filing, pulling, or hanging
2 : a careful watch Let's keep tabs on the weather.


\ ˈtab \

Medical Definition of tab

: tablet

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More from Merriam-Webster on tab

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tab

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tab

Spanish Central: Translation of tab

Nglish: Translation of tab for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tab for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tab

Comments on tab

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irregularly rounded

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