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

Firefighters were ready in case of any emergency and city crews patrolled the park to keep tabs on the trash. Carol Kovach,, "Lakewood Community Festival draws big crowd to Madison Park," 9 Sep. 2019 The Elder Law Section’s Guardianship Committee, which had been meeting every other week, started conducting weekly meetings to better keep tabs on the various bills in play. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Florida guardianship laws weakened by elder law attorneys’ lobbying. For some courts, exceptions have become the rule | Special report," 30 Aug. 2019 Horn still follows the program and certainly will be keeping tabs on Saturday’s game. San Diego Union-Tribune, "5 Things to Watch: Weber State at Aztecs," 30 Aug. 2019 But mostly, declines seem to have missed because the animals were considered common enough that no one kept tabs on them. Christie Wilcox, National Geographic, "The silent decline of the platypus, Australia’s beloved oddity," 29 Aug. 2019 Much of the series emphasizes Todd Chrisley's obsessive yet comedic efforts to keep tabs on three of his kids — two of whom are in their 20s — and his mother. CBS News, "Reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley plead not guilty to tax evasion charges," 14 Aug. 2019 The bluebloods have continued to keep tabs, but the Ducks remain out in front with the professional ball not a far-fetched avenue, either., "Recruiting: Do Oregon Ducks lead for 5-star center Makur Maker?," 8 Aug. 2019 Training future scientists Keeping tabs on the initiative’s success is partly the responsibility of the program’s high school interns. María Méndez, Dallas News, "Here’s how one program teaches kids water conservation, potentially saving Dallas millions," 19 July 2019 In an era of smartphones and machine learning, email probably seems like a quaint way to keep tabs on your creditworthiness. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "The simplest way to improve your credit score is by using your email," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Jackson tweeted on Thursday that he was tabbed by the NFL to take a drug test despite no plans to appear on the field in 2019. Michael Shapiro,, "Steven Jackson Asked to Take Drug Test for One-Day Contract With Rams," 2 Aug. 2019 The vast majority of baseball executives would have tabbed Bart after the Tigers chose pitcher Casey Mize with the No. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Two ousted Giants executives created more trade deadline flexibility," 30 July 2019 The Bulls were tabbed by the media to finish third in the AAC’s East Division behind back-to-back champions UCF and Cincinnati. Matt Murschel,, "USF TE Mitchell Wilcox excited to return, help lead Bulls’ explosive offense," 23 July 2019 Conley has been a true professional throughout his NBA career, and like Gasol was well aware that the Grindhouse Era in Memphis (tabbed by former Celtic Tony Allen) was over. Gary Washburn,, "Kyrie Irving getting more blame than he deserves for Celtics’ disappointing season," 29 June 2019 So, when King made typical freshman mistakes last year, like being late or slacking in class, UIW coach Eric Morris tabbed him for 5 a.m. workouts with strength and conditioning coach Bret Huth. Greg Luca,, "Ameer King matures, steps into No. 1 role for UIW offense," 21 Aug. 2019 The coaches tabbed defending champion New Hampshire as the preseason favorite with 47 points and five of eight first-place selections. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Bayhawks hire Chris Burdick as new defensive coordinator," 13 Aug. 2019 For this new campaign, Coach tabs longtime faces of the brand, Michael B Jordan and Kiko Mizuhara. James Love, Essence, "Michael B. Jordan and Yara Shahidi Star in Coach’s New Fall/Winter 2019 Campaign," 25 July 2019 Media members tabbed two-time defending conference champion UCF to win the East and Memphis to take the West, just ahead of Houston. Alex Putterman,, "UConn picked to finish last in preseason AAC football poll, plus other media day notes," 16 July 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

20 Sep 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

What made you want to look up tab? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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