taper

1 of 4

verb

ta·​per ˈtā-pər How to pronounce taper (audio)
tapered; tapering ˈtā-p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce taper (audio)

intransitive verb

1
: to become progressively smaller toward one end
2
: to diminish gradually

transitive verb

: to cause to taper

taper

2 of 4

noun (1)

1
a
: a slender candle
b
: a long waxed wick used especially for lighting candles, lamps, pipes, or fires
c
: a feeble light
2
a
: a tapering form or figure
b
: gradual diminution of thickness, diameter, or width in an elongated object
c
: a gradual decrease

taper

3 of 4

adjective

1
: progressively narrowed toward one end
2
: furnished with or adjusted to a scale : graduated
taper freight rates

taper

4 of 4

noun (2)

tap·​er ˈtā-pər How to pronounce taper (audio)
: one that applies or dispenses tape

Examples of taper in a Sentence

Verb leaves that taper to a point you'll find the symptoms begin tapering gradually about 24 hours after you take the medicine
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Wet snow west and a rain-snow mix east should taper with time during the midday. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, 12 Feb. 2024 These terraced candle holders have a low profile for easy storage, and they can be flipped to display either taper candles or tealights. Anne Loreto Cruz, Bon Appétit, 1 Feb. 2024 Snow tapered in the Northeast after blanketing a large area including Washington and New York City. Adrian Sainz, Fortune, 20 Jan. 2024 Axelle/Bauer-Griffin Emily Blunt was accompanied by her actor husband John Krasinski, who sported a red tuxedo, black bowtie, and tapered maroon dress pants with a matching red racing stripe down the leg. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 8 Jan. 2024 The service also forecast: light snow looks to develop from the south Friday morning, falling lightly much of the day before tapering in the late afternoon or early evening. Staff Report, Hartford Courant, 17 Jan. 2024 These loafers are probably best worn without socks as they’re tapered into the middle of the foot, but can also be worn with socks pending your preference. Joel Balsam, Travel + Leisure, 12 Jan. 2024 Tonight: Evening rain, heavy at times with gusty winds, tapering overnight. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2024 Confidence: Medium Tomorrow night: Rain should taper to showers through the evening. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2024
Noun
This gorgeous hourglass pillar candle combines the look of a taper candle and holder all in one for the perfect centerpiece. Taylor Gumm, Rolling Stone, 7 Feb. 2024 American Eagle’s take gets the tailoring just right, offering skinny thighs with a slim taper through the legs. Jake Smith, Glamour, 30 Jan. 2024 Get crafty making wall art, a tote bag, or high-end-looking twisted taper candles, plus sixteen other DIY projects to try. Megan Boettcher, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Sep. 2023 Another option is to go with an all-white tablescape and tons of white taper candles (this provides a great contrast to the otherwise stark color). Mary Carol Garrity, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Blunt ends and a slight taper are characteristic of bear turds, which tend to be less uniform in shape than those of big grazers like elk and moose. Steven Hill, Field & Stream, 29 Nov. 2023 Creating an effective side-to-side action requires the right combination of lure size, taper, and weight, and Lucky Craft found the perfect formula with this lure. Mark Modoski, Field & Stream, 4 Jan. 2024 Here, the torque of the Kia’s electric motors tapers, and that’s for the best. Daniel Golson, The Verge, 27 Oct. 2023 While promoting the film, director James Cameron liked to note that the tape of the Rodney King beating also contained scenes from the set of Terminator 2, filmed blocks away from taper George Holliday’s Lake View Terrace home. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 7 Sep. 2023
Adjective
Instead, grab a few pairs of these taper candles that are hand painted with tiny bows. Anne Loreto Cruz, Bon Appétit, 8 Feb. 2024 Tall taper candles that loom over your head at dinner? Wilder Davies, Bon Appétit, 15 Dec. 2023 This set of taper flameless candles by Luminara come in at 9.75 inches tall and feature LED lights that flicker to resemble a traditional candle flame. Addie Morton, Southern Living, 28 Nov. 2023 Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Break Out All the Candles For a rehearsal dinner or intimate indoor reception, this fresh green garland accented with simple pillar candles, taper candles, and mini white pumpkins makes an elegant statement. Molly Miller, House Beautiful, 29 July 2023 To take it a step further, color coordinate your items, bring pillows or seat cushions, and light some taper candles. Bryce Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'taper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English tapor candle, wick, perhaps modification of Latin papyrus papyrus

Noun (2)

tape entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

1610, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

circa 1920, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of taper was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near taper

Cite this Entry

“Taper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taper. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

taper

1 of 2 noun
ta·​per ˈtā-pər How to pronounce taper (audio)
1
a
: a long waxed wick used especially for lighting lamps, pipes, or fires
b
: a slender candle
2
a
: a tapering form or figure
b
: gradual lessening of thickness, diameter, or width in a long object
c
: a gradual decrease

taper

2 of 2 verb
tapered; tapering
ˈtā-p(ə-)riŋ
1
: to make or become gradually smaller toward one end
2
: to become gradually less and less

More from Merriam-Webster on taper

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