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 But Von Dohlen insisted on picking up the tab, according to Legrand. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 15 May 2021 Instead, Democrats plan to require the U.S. Postal Service to carry mail ballots and ballot request forms free of charge with the federal government picking up the tab. Star Tribune, 5 May 2021 Instead, Democrats plan to require the U.S. Postal Service to carry mail ballots and ballot request forms free of charge with the federal government picking up the tab. Christina A. Cassidy And Mary Clare Jalonick,, 5 May 2021 Postponing the Games to 2021 has added billions more to the tab. Fortune, 27 May 2021 The restaurant’s manager reported that two customers were refusing to pay their food and drink tab. cleveland, 26 May 2021 Because the whale ended up on a state beach, the state appears to be the one left with the tab at this point. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 May 2021 Square, however, said the average tip amount as a percentage of the total tab fell to around 17% from 21% before the pandemic began. J.j. Mccorvey, WSJ, 21 May 2021 That number probably doesn’t account for what might be the public’s full tab, because of, among other variables, the likelihood of cost overruns. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Memories are at the top of the For You tab in Photos, and tracks from your Apple Music will now automatically be added. Zach Epstein, BGR, 7 June 2021 Eligible Twitter users can apply for verification by visiting the account settings tab on Twitter and submitting an application. Fortune, 20 May 2021 In 2012, Tom Vanderbilt wrote a great story for Slate about the evolution of the mechanism that replaced the removable can tab. Washington Post, 12 May 2021 The 49ers, who traded up from No. 12 to No. 3 with the Dolphins, could select Jones, and the Falcons could tab Lance. 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,, 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,, 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,, 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, 5 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

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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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