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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.]


abbreviation for
(Law) South African Police Service
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!