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 that still leaves the city with a tab of about $102,700 a day, or $718,900 a week. Phil Matier,, "Tenderloin tent cleanup sees some success — what about the rest of SF?," 1 July 2020 The app allows customers to hold a tab for the visit and to pay with Apple or Google pay. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eagle Park's big Muskego taproom opens this month after a delay caused by coronavirus," 1 July 2020 Finally, Task Manager gets a couple of minor but welcome visual updates—when selecting any disk under the Performance tab, the make and model of that disk is displayed along with its logical address, drive letter, and performance data. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "What’s new in Windows 10 Build 2004," 26 June 2020 There’s a new weather widget on the new-tab page, which must be manually configured to your own location. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Opera integrates Twitter into new Opera 69 browser," 24 June 2020 After mounting internal pressure, Airbnb finally added a second tab for contractors to the directory. Anna Furman, Wired, "Airbnb Quietly Fired Hundreds of Contract Workers. I'm One of Them," 23 June 2020 For more information, go to and click on the ‘parks and recreation’ tab. cleveland, "Local Fourth of July events include Avon fireworks display: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 20 June 2020 Residents of Chicago are still paying a $100 million tab for Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox, built in 1991. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Taxpayers helped build MLB stadiums. Time for owners to return the favor and give us games in them," 17 June 2020 The total tab for his bout with the coronavirus: $1.1 million. Danny Westneat, Anchorage Daily News, "This Seattle man’s COVID-19 survival was called a miracle. Then he got a 181-page bill for $1.1 million.," 15 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Doug Tibbs has been tabbed to be Chandler's Ford's head brewer. Matt Wake |, al, "New brewery, tacos, coffee shop opening in downtown Huntsville," 4 June 2020 He is tabbed by Max Preps as a Division II college recruit. Shelby Dermer,, "Wyoming's Mitchell, Talawanda's Detherage named overlooked 2021 football recruits," 24 Apr. 2020 Sandy Bell, executive associate athletic director, has been tabbed to take on oversight of the program and will be in charge of the search for a new coaching staff. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "What you need to know about Kentucky's cheerleading hazing investigation," 20 May 2020 UConn sophomore Olivia Nelson-Ododa is one of 20 candidates tabbed to the 2020 Lisa Leslie Award watch list, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Friday. Alexa Philippou,, "Olivia Nelson-Ododa named to 2020 Lisa Leslie Award watch list for top center," 25 Oct. 2019 Cumberland was named the preseason player of the year, and Memphis freshman center/forward James Wiseman was tabbed rookie of the year. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "UH basketball a co-favorite to repeat as AAC champs," 14 Oct. 2019 Pauling, tabbed as a three-star recruit from Homewood-Flossmoor in Illinois, announced his decision to join the Bearcats on Twitter. Shelby Dermer,, "UC football lands commitment from 3-star wide receiver Will Pauling," 23 Apr. 2020 The Beavers are in good shape with six games remaining, as the NCAA tabbed OSU as a 3-seed, and No. oregonlive, "Pac-12 tournament, NCAA seeding in danger as Oregon State women’s basketball face rare back-to-back Pac-12 road trips," 13 Feb. 2020 Stenberg earned All-SEC recognition and was tabbed as a second-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Alabama Roots: 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl," 25 Jan. 2020

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

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 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

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