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
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

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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 Earlier this year, the brand made a special Valentine's Day offer to pay off one couple's bar tab for life. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Get Paid $20k to Become the First Ambassador to the 'Champagne of Beers Region' in Wisconsin," 3 May 2021 The restaurant experienced a second dine-and-dash incident over the weekend after patrons on Sunday split before paying their $150 tab, the restaurant's owner said. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Dine-and-dashers make good after splitting before paying," 17 Apr. 2021 In 2007, the electric company threatened to shut off the power when her unpaid tab rose to $2,099, records show. Carol Marbin Miller, ProPublica, "When Births Go Horribly Wrong, Florida Protects Doctors and Forces Families to Pay the Price," 8 Apr. 2021 Flights, bar tab, gratuities and Belizean taxes not included. Washington Post, "With covid protocols, a Caribbean fly-fishing haven is back in business," 2 Apr. 2021 Meanwhile, Spotify is adding a few new features to its mobile Home tab, which the company is pitching as adjustments to improve navigation and discovery. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, "Are Podcast Producers Properly Valued?," 23 Mar. 2021 The Army also denied Golsteyn's request to restore his Special Forces tab, marking his service as a member of an elite unit, and the letter of reprimand placed in his personnel file. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Army denies medals, Special Forces insignia, to soldier Trump pardoned for alleged murder," 18 Mar. 2021 And there is a bar tab run up by comedian Lenny Bruce. Rick Kogan,, "Remember Mister Kelly’s? Boxes of stuff from Chicago’s great, bygone nightspot have just landed at the Newberry Library," 3 Mar. 2021 But leading up to the 2020 season, the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates picked up his tab, offering him a minor-league contract. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "How new Detroit Tigers pitcher Derek Holland plans to make the most of his latest shot," 28 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The 49ers, who traded up from No. 12 to No. 3 with the Dolphins, could select Jones, and the Falcons could tab Lance. cleveland, "Mac Jones and Trey Lance among the 1st group of players accepting invitations to attend the NFL Draft in Cleveland," 7 Apr. 2021 To enable the feature, users must go to the Downloads tab on the app and switch on Downloads For You. Todd Spangler,, "Netflix app can now automatically download shows or movies you may be interested in," 22 Feb. 2021 Saban thought highly enough of Sarkisian to tab him as offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s replacement one week before the 2017 CFP national championship. Nick Moyle,, "New Texas Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian hoping to go out on top with Alabama in CFP national championship," 7 Jan. 2021 Go to the library’s website, then to the databases tab at the top of the page, and then scroll down until Consumer Reports appears on the left-hand side of the page. Chris Smith | Contributing Writer,, "In-person computer classes are again offered at Jefferson Parish Library," 11 Nov. 2020 Order ahead of time via the grocery boxes tab on the website for pick-up or delivery on Friday, May 8, or Saturday, May 9. Linnea Covington, The Know, "18 places that will help you celebrate mom on Mother’s Day," 5 May 2020 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

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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Comments on tab

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