Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The watery fluid that circulates through a plant, carrying food and other substances to the various tissues.
  • n. The fluid contents of a plant cell vacuole.
  • n. An essential bodily fluid.
  • n. Health and energy; vitality.
  • n. Slang A gullible person; a dupe.
  • n. A leather-covered hand weapon; a blackjack.
  • transitive v. To drain of sap.
  • transitive v. To hit or knock out with a sap.
  • n. A covered trench or tunnel dug to a point near or within an enemy position.
  • transitive v. To undermine the foundations of (a fortification).
  • transitive v. To deplete or weaken gradually.
  • intransitive v. To dig a sap.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The juice of plants of any kind, especially the ascending and descending juices or circulating fluid essential to nutrition.
  • n. The sap-wood, or alburnum, of a tree.
  • n. A simpleton; a saphead; a milksop; a naive person.
  • n. A short wooden club; a leather-covered hand weapon; a blackjack.
  • v. To strike with a sap (with a blackjack).
  • n. A narrow ditch or trench made from the foremost parallel toward the glacis or covert way of a besieged place by digging under cover of gabions, etc.
  • v. To subvert by digging or wearing away; to mine; to undermine; to destroy the foundation of.
  • v. To pierce with saps.
  • v. To make unstable or infirm; to unsettle; to weaken.
  • v. To gradually weaken.
  • v. To proceed by mining, or by secretly undermining; to execute saps — 12

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The juice of plants of any kind, especially the ascending and descending juices or circulating fluid essential to nutrition.
  • n. The sapwood, or alburnum, of a tree.
  • n. A simpleton; a saphead; a milksop.
  • transitive v. To subvert by digging or wearing away; to mine; to undermine; to destroy the foundation of.
  • transitive v. To pierce with saps.
  • transitive v. To make unstable or infirm; to unsettle; to weaken.
  • intransitive v. To proceed by mining, or by secretly undermining; to execute saps.
  • n. A narrow ditch or trench made from the foremost parallel toward the glacis or covert way of a besieged place by digging under cover of gabions, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The juice or fluid which circulates in all plants, being as indispensable to vegetable life as is the blood to animal life.
  • n. Hence The juice or fluid the presence of which in anything is characteristic of a healthy, fresh, or vigorous condition; blood.
  • n. The alburnum of a tree; the exterior part of the wood, next to the bark; sap-wood.
  • n. Same as saphead.
  • To act like a sap; play the part of a ninny or a soft fellow.
  • n. A tool for digging; a mattock.
  • n. [⟨ sap, verb] Milit., a narrow ditch or trench by which approach is made to a fortress or besieged place when within range of fire.
  • To undermine; render unstable by digging into or eating away the foundations, or, figuratively, by some analogous insidious or invisible process; impair the stability of, by insidious means: as, to sap a wall; to sap a person's constitution, or the morals of a community.
  • Milit., to approach or pierce with saps or trenches.
  • To dig or use saps or trenches; hence, to impair stability by insidious means.
  • n. In archery, the light-colored portion of a bowstaff composed of the sap-wood. This portion forms the back of a self-bow.
  • n. A quarryman's name for rock which is partially decayed and which exhibits this quality by iron stains and other discolorations. It is usually thrown away.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a watery solution of sugars, salts, and minerals that circulates through the vascular system of a plant
  • n. a piece of metal covered by leather with a flexible handle; used for hitting people
  • n. a person who lacks good judgment
  • v. excavate the earth beneath
  • v. deplete

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English sæp.
Obsolete French sappe or Italian zappa, hoe, from Old French and Old Italian, both from Late Latin sappa.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English sæp, from Proto-Germanic *sapōn (cf. East Frisian/Dutch sap, German Saft, Icelandic safi), from Proto-Indo-European *sab-, Proto-Indo-European *sap- (cf. Welsh sybwydd 'fir', Latin sapa ("must, new wine"), Russian сопли (sópli, "snivel"), Armenian համ (ham, "juice, taste"), Avestan višāpa 'having poisonous juices', Sanskrit sabar 'juice, nectar'), from *sap 'to taste'. More at sage. (Wiktionary)
Probably from sapling. (Wiktionary)
From French saper (compare Spanish zapar and Italian zappare) from sape ("sort of scythe"), from Late Latin sappa ("sort of mattock"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • More than 90 million people across the Midwest and Northeast were bracing for a major snowstorm and blizzard-like conditions, followed by dangerous cold that could sap the melting power of salt and threaten lives.

    January 2, 2014

  • a finale hopper

    October 8, 2010

  • Also a military term; see sappers.

    October 9, 2008

  • Contronym: having the good stuff, or losing the good stuff.

    October 9, 2008