ta·​per | \ ˈtā-pər \
tapered; tapering\ ˈtā-​p(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of taper

 (Entry 1 of 4)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to cause to taper


noun (1)

Definition of taper (Entry 2 of 4)

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



Definition of taper (Entry 3 of 4)

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


noun (2)
tap·​er | \ ˈtā-pər \

Definition of taper (Entry 4 of 4)

: one that applies or dispenses tape

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Examples of taper in a Sentence


leaves that taper to a point you'll find the symptoms begin tapering gradually about 24 hours after you take the medicine

First Known Use of taper


1610, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (1)

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

circa 1920, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taper

Noun (1)

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

Noun (2)

tape entry 1

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Statistics for taper

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Time Traveler for taper

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

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More Definitions for taper



English Language Learners Definition of taper

: to become gradually smaller toward one end


ta·​per | \ ˈtā-pər \

Kids Definition of taper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a slender candle
2 : a gradual lessening in thickness or width in a long object


tapered; tapering

Kids Definition of taper (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make or become gradually smaller toward one end The leaves taper to a point.
2 : to grow gradually less and less The rain tapered off.

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More from Merriam-Webster on taper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taper

Spanish Central: Translation of taper

Nglish: Translation of taper for Spanish Speakers

Comments on taper

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


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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