noun, often attributive
\ ˈtab How to pronounce tab (audio) \

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 table entry 1; 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


tabbed; tabbing

Definition of tab (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Examples of tab in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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 But Porsche has replaced the console shift knob on previous models with a stubby shift tab. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Porsche’s 2020 911 sports car is spry as ever (review)," 21 Dec. 2019 Drawn well outside with tactical speed, tab at a fair price. Los Angeles Times, "Racing! Congrats to Travers winner Code of Honor," 25 Aug. 2019 That night, in light of the Coast Guard’s continued lack of pay, scientists passed the hat for a $1,500 bar tab at the station’s three watering holes. Author: Richard Read, Anchorage Daily News, "Meet the icebreaker Polar Star, the neglected stepchild of the U.S. military industrial complex," 17 Aug. 2019 Guests receive a bracelet, which features one free 8-ounce pour each at Tribus and Milford Point and 25 percent off the tab at SBC. Courant Staff,, "Six things to do over the next 6 days," 28 July 2019 Name: Geeks Who Drink Trivia hosted by Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery Address: 1139 20th St., Denver Dates: Thursdays until Oct. 24 Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Win free beer and bar tabs at these trivia nights, according to the event’s Facebook page. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Know, "Geek out at these 10 free weekly trivia nights in Denver," 9 July 2019 Huawei Health app Aptly so, the Huawei Health app for Android and iOS focuses on fitness and health data, sticking device settings and everything else in a dedicated tab at the bottom of the homepage. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Huawei Watch GT review: When hardware and software don’t mesh," 16 Dec. 2018 Consumers purchasing foreign goods are the ones who picked up the tab. NBC News, "President Donald Trump's 10 biggest false claims in 2019 — and one that finally became true," 31 Dec. 2019 Pearland’s economic development corporation is picking up the tab, Trower said. Carissa D. Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "Toll lane completion among projects on tap in Brazoria County," 27 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fenway Sports Group placed one ranking ahead of the Yankees’ group, Yankee Global Enterprises, which is tabbed at $6.1 billion, and the Kraft family, in eighth place at $4.5 billion., "Fenway Sports Group’s holdings place them third — globally — on the list of sports conglomerates, behind only Kroenke Sports ($8.4 billion) and," 21 Dec. 2019 But a shaky shooting year shouldn’t deter the Celtics from tabbing Brown as a key member of their future core. Michael Shapiro,, "Rookie-Scale Extension Watch: Will Pascal Siakam Land a Big Payday?," 15 Aug. 2019 Those who follow the Houston Rockets closely tab P.J. Tucker as a transformational figure in that team’s rise to the top of the NBA’s Southwest Division., "Who could the Spurs take in the NBA Draft?," 15 June 2019 Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell earned freshman of the year honors, while Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo was tabbed coach of the year. Alex Putterman,, "UConn football player Matt Peart named first-team all-AAC," 4 Dec. 2019 Ten players tabbed in the second round of the 2018 draft also have made more NBA appearances than Walker. Jeff Mcdonald,, "Lonnie Walker’s breakout a hat tip to patience," 4 Dec. 2019 It was confirmed by Tocchet that Crouse entered concussion protocol, although the Coyotes are only tabbing the ailment as an upper-body injury, per team policy. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes prospect Jan Jenik turning heads with scoring prowess," 24 Nov. 2019 In the 247 Sports composite rankings, Worsham is tabbed the nation’s 50th-ranked receiver and No. David Furones,, "Recruiting: Miami Hurricanes land Alabama receiver Dazalin Worsham — and another commitment could be on its way," 22 Nov. 2019 Bunch retained his role as chairman of the board, while Director Bruce Rieser was tabbed as the vice chairman, filling McMullan’s role. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Newly elected Woodlands board members sworn in, get to work," 21 Nov. 2019

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

Statistics for tab

Last Updated

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tab.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for tab


How to pronounce tab (audio)

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 How to pronounce tab (audio) \

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 How to pronounce tab (audio) \

Medical Definition of tab

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More from Merriam-Webster on tab

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tab

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

What made you want to look up tab? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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