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 And as with tabs, all your notes sync seamlessly across all your devices. David Nield, Wired, "6 Reasons to Ditch Chrome for the Vivaldi Browser on Android," 14 Sep. 2019 The tab: $1,050 for three nights in a cabin, $30 for wine tasting (waived with a purchase of at least $30) and $75 for dinner. Alison Shore, Los Angeles Times, "Walk among the redwoods on a weekend trip to the Santa Cruz Mountains," 12 Sep. 2019 Six years later, lawmakers approved a bill allowing Sound Transit to collect a car-tab tax. The Tacoma News Tribune, The Seattle Times, "Court battle over car-tab tax could get you a refund, but cost Sound Transit billions," 2 Sep. 2019 The Chromium version of Edge also runs Internet Explorer as an Edge tab, a feature that Microsoft previously announced. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft Edge in Chromium goes beta, and Microsoft says it's ready for everyday use," 20 Aug. 2019 The piles of spent pull-tabs on the bar top and tables attest to the hall’s fundraising — around $75,000 a year goes to youth groups and senior citizen programs. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "South St. Paul’s Croatian Hall turns 100," 18 Aug. 2019 From buying food to settling bar tabs, day-to-day dealings involved creased paper or clinking bits of metal. The Economist, "Rich countries must start planning for a cashless future," 1 Aug. 2019 One of the reasons the lunar program stopped with Apollo is that the old model—a money spigot turned on full as the government paid the entire $24 billion tab ($168 billion in 2019 dollars)—was not sustainable. Time, "NASA Is Working With Private Companies to Go Back to the Moon. That's Riskier Than it Seems," 31 July 2019 The tab: $139 for a room with private bath (taxes included) at the Old House and Inn at Benton Hot Springs; no charge for serenity or starry skies. Sara Lessley,, "Experience hot springs and history on a weekend trip to Benton Hot Springs," 11 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Portland Tribune writers tab Oregon to win the Pac-12 North and face Utah in the conference title game. oregonlive, "UO quarterback Justin Herbert’s childhood hero is former Oregon RB LaMichael James: Issues & Answers," 29 Aug. 2019 Content often blurred the lines between innocuous and extreme: Users could easily tab between conversations about toys, video games, threats of violence and anti-Semitism. Dan Patterson, CBS News, "8chan users are moving to Discord, where your kids are playing video games," 26 Aug. 2019 McLain is the first high school hitter the Diamondbacks have selected before the second round since the club tabbed Chris Owings with the 41st overall pick in 2009. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Diamondbacks value athleticism, select three hitters on 1st day of MLB draft," 4 June 2018 The Colts, who reached the AFC divisional round last season after beating South Division rival Houston in the wild-card round, were tabbed as a Super Bowl contender. Si Wire,, "Colts vs. Chargers Live Stream: Watch Online, TV Channel, Start Time," 8 Sep. 2019 With nose tackle Justin Ellis on IR, free-agent Corey Liuget could be tabbed as a replacement. Matt Kawahara,, "2019 Raiders unit breakdowns," 5 Sep. 2019 After a seven-year run at UNC Greensboro, Jarrett was tabbed to make the jump from the Southern Conference to the talent-laden Atlantic Coast Conference. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "New Notre Dame baseball coach Link Jarrett has Hall of Fame mentor," 15 July 2019 The two teams are tabbed to be contending for the SEC championship again this upcoming season. Mark Heim |,, "Steve Spurrier asked ‘How close are Georgia and Alabama?’," 9 July 2019 Sports Illustrated has tabbed Cleveland to win 11 games and its division. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "Will This Be Cleveland’s Year?," 4 Sep. 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

Dictionary Entries near tab



Taanith Esther





Statistics for tab

Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for tab

The first known use of tab was in 1607

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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

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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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