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 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

Bird migration shows up on radar so well that ornithologists and bird watchers use it to keep tabs on bird movements during nightly spring flights. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "A 10-Mile-Wide Ladybug Swarm Buzzed Over San Diego," 7 June 2019 The bar doesn’t keep tabs on those sorts of things. Jonny Auping, The New Yorker, "F.A.Q. About the Board Game at Your Favorite Bar," 6 June 2019 How to get enough fiber While the recommendation is 14 grams per 1,000 calories, in reality many of us don’t count calories, let alone keep tabs on our fiber intake. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "How Much Fiber Should I Be Eating to Feel Regular?," 30 May 2019 Aldermen have prohibited the city’s inspector general from keeping tabs on the council or its committees. Logan Jaffe, ProPublica, "Three Ways Chicago’s City Council Keeps Its Committees Out of the Public Eye," 17 May 2019 But with Instagram videos and Youtube content available with a tab of a finger, there's a lot of noise (and opinions!) on how to actually use these transformative tools. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Ultimate Guide to Better Brows, from Microblading to Miracle Gel," 28 Oct. 2018 On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated's Tim Rohan examined the time the receiver got stuck with a massive dinner tab during his rookie season. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "How Dez Bryant wound up paying for one of the most expensive dinner bills ever," 14 June 2018 With the Hotlist tab, the service took me to a list of the 20 top trending music videos on YouTube right now. Ellis Clopton,, "Is YouTube's new premium music service worth it?," 25 May 2018 The site's home page is a news feed, with tabs for browsing images, videos, blogs, and groups at the top of the page. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Minds Is the Anti-Facebook That Pays You for Your Time," 19 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In 1972, Corvallis High/University of Oregon infielder Dave Roberts was tabbed No. 1 by the San Diego Padres., "Baltimore Orioles fans, get to know Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, first pick of 2019 MLB draft," 3 June 2019 Back in 1980, the squad was tabbed as the best team in league history during the NBA’s 35th-anniversary celebration. Keith Pompey,, "Former Sixers great Hal Greer dies," 16 Apr. 2018 Washington also tabbed forward Aaron White in the second round. Benjamin Standig,, "Wizards select Oregon swingman Troy Brown Jr. with 15th overall pick in NBA draft," 21 June 2018 Cedric Williams was named Patriot League Field Athlete of the Week, while John Barber was tabbed Patriot League Rookie of the Week., "Digest (April) 10: Goalie Philipp Grubauer gets starting assignment from Capitals," 10 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile, Howie Schwab at Fox Sports tabs the Huskies as a No. Percy Allen, The Seattle Times, "Washington climbs to No. 7 in NCAA tournament projections, but still not ranked in AP top 25," 4 Feb. 2019 The American Junior Golf Association named the Mobilian as its Girls' Player of the Year and Golf Digest tabbed her its Girls' Junior Golfer of the Year in 1984. Mark Inabinett,, "7 questions with golfer Susie Redman," 29 Dec. 2017 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

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

14 Jun 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 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

: 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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behavior toward others

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