Synonyms & Antonyms of sap

(Entry 1 of 2)

2 one who is easily deceived or cheated
  • some poor sap would probably fall for that telephone scam

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3 a heavy rigid stick used as a weapon or for punishment
  • the sadistic prison guards freely used their saps to enforce discipline

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4 the condition of being sound in body
  • I may no longer have the sap of youth, but I do have the sapience that comes only with advanced years

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Synonyms & Antonyms of sap (Entry 2 of 2)

to diminish the physical strength of
  • weeks of hard work had sapped her and left her exhausted

Synonyms for sap

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Frequently Asked Questions About sap

How is the word sap distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of sap are cripple, debilitate, disable, enfeeble, undermine, and weaken. While all these words mean "to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor," undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously.

a poor diet undermines your health

drugs had sapped his ability to think

In what contexts can cripple take the place of sap?

While the synonyms cripple and sap are close in meaning, cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element.

crippled by arthritis

When can debilitate be used instead of sap?

The words debilitate and sap are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality.

the debilitating effects of surgery

When would disable be a good substitute for sap?

The words disable and sap can be used in similar contexts, but disable suggests bringing about impairment or limitation in a physical or mental ability.

disabled by an injury sustained at work

When might enfeeble be a better fit than sap?

While in some cases nearly identical to sap, enfeeble implies a condition of marked weakness and helplessness.

enfeebled by starvation

Where would weaken be a reasonable alternative to sap?

In some situations, the words weaken and sap are roughly equivalent. However, weaken may imply loss of physical strength, health, soundness, or stability or of quality, intensity, or effective power.

a disease that weakens the body's defenses

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Time Traveler for sap

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Sap.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sap

Nglish: Translation of sap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sap for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sap


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