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sap 1

a. The watery fluid that circulates through a plant, carrying food and other substances to the various tissues.
b. See cell sap.
2. Health and energy; vitality: The constant bickering drained his sap away.
3. Slang A foolish or gullible person.
tr.v. sapped, sap·ping, saps
1. To drain (a tree, for example) of sap.
2. To deplete or weaken gradually: The noisy children sapped all my energy. The flu sapped him of his strength. See Synonyms at deplete.

[Middle English, from Old English sæp. V., sense 2, probably partly from sap (taken as "to weaken (resistance) as by draining of sap.").]

sap 2

A covered trench or tunnel dug to a point near or within an enemy position.
v. sapped, sap·ping, saps
To undermine the foundations of (a fortification).
To dig a sap.

[French sape, from saper, to sap, undermine, from Italian zappare, to dig with a mattock or hoe, sap, from zappa, mattock, hoe, from Old Italian, from Late Latin sappa, of unknown origin.]

sap 3

A leather-covered bludgeon with a short, flexible shaft or strap, used as a hand weapon.
tr.v. sapped, sap·ping, saps
To hit or knock out with a sap.

[Probably short for sapling, since the bludgeons were made from wood from saplings.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


abbreviation for
(Law) South African Police Service
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in classic literature ?
Yet after all Who is it that saps his strength save man alone?
I warrant me that the sap runs like a mill-tail up the maples this warm morning.
How one feels the water sinking, the sap departing, the thought of the times and of the people withdrawing from it!
Fifteen or twenty tulips, torn and crushed, were lying about, some of them bent, others completely broken and already withering, the sap oozing from their bleeding bulbs: how gladly would Van Baerle have redeemed that precious sap with his own blood!
Verbum sap. Pardon the pedantry of a Latin quotation, and believe me,
All the while she wondered if any strange good thing might come of her being in her ancestral land; and some spirit within her rose automatically as the sap in the twigs.
The old grass looked greener, and the young grass thrust up its tiny blades; the buds of the guelder-rose and of the currant and the sticky birch-buds were swollen with sap, and an exploring bee was humming about the golden blossoms that studded the willow.
They are excessively numerous in some parts of Chile, and valuable on account of a sort of treacle made from the sap. On one estate near Petorca they tried to count them, but failed, after having numbered several hundred thousand.
the wood was green as mosses of the icy Glen; the trees stood high and haughty, feeling their living sap; the industrious earth beneath was as a weaver's loom, with a gorgeous carpet on it, whereof the ground-vine tendrils formed the warp and woof, and the living flowers the figures.
You must learn the trick; you must imitate the trademarks of poverty, misery, oppression, insult, and the other several and common inhumanities that sap the manliness out of a man and make him a loyal and proper and approved subject and a satisfaction to his masters, or the very infants will know you for better than your disguise, and we shall go to pieces at the first hut we stop at.
Our consciousness rarely registers the beginning of a growth within us any more than without us: there have been many circulations of the sap before we detect the smallest sign of the bud.
The sap flows from an incision made high up in the tree into a vessel hung there to receive it, and soon hardens into the substance called camphor, but the tree itself withers up and dies when it has been so treated.