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 The company began its news tab last October writing checks in the seven figures to publishers in exchange for three-year licensing deals. Ben Smith, New York Times, "Big Tech Has Crushed the News Business. That’s About to Change.," 10 May 2020 Tyler Perry surprised elderly shoppers and others who are high-risk at dozens of supermarkets by paying off their grocery tabs. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Tyler Perry pays grocery bills for elderly and high-risk shoppers at 73 stores in Atlanta and New Orleans," 9 Apr. 2020 Tyler Perry surprised thousands of shoppers by picking up their grocery tabs during senior shopping hours Wednesday. NBC News, "Tyler Perry surprises thousands of seniors by paying for their groceries," 8 Apr. 2020 Kindergarten and elementary school students have their own tab, as do secondary students. Alyssa Alfano, cleveland, "Medina school board presents parents page for online learning during coronavirus shutdown," 7 Apr. 2020 Representatives of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta told the FBI the group walked away without paying its $39,000 tab. Jeff Martin, USA TODAY, "Rap impostors accused of scamming luxury hotels of thousands," 12 Feb. 2020 Representatives of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta told the FBI the group walked away without paying its $39,000 tab. Jeff Martin,, "Rap impostors accused of scamming luxury hotels of thousands," 12 Feb. 2020 Patrons who dress up in costumes will receive 15% off their tab. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sick of basic dates? Here are seven unique ways to celebrate Valentine's Day around Milwaukee," 12 Feb. 2020 This info is no longer on their website, but many websites report that at one point, Lululemon had this explanation on their History tab. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Here's What the Lululemon Logo Actually Means," 21 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Drake was tabbed as the starter, and on the Cardinals' opening drive, the first two plays ran through him, with Johnson on the sideline. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "With three healthy running backs, Cardinals fail to involve and solve three-headed rotation," 1 Dec. 2019 Not many people tabbed Dana Jones of North Hollywood as the best basketball player in the City Section in the winter of 1990. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, "Great championship games: Dana Jones dominates Fremont with 29 points in 1990 City 3-A final," 20 Apr. 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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 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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