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tab1

[tab] /tæb/
noun
1.
a small flap, strap, loop, or similar appendage, as on a garment, used for pulling, hanging, or decoration.
2.
a tag or label.
3.
a small projection from a card, paper, or folder, used as an aid in filing.
4.
Informal. a bill, as for a meal in a restaurant; check.
5.
a small piece attached or intended to be attached, as to an automobile license plate.
6.
a small flap or tongue of material used to seal or close the opening of a container.
7.
Also called tabulator. a stop on a typewriter, actuated by a key, that moves the carriage, typing element, etc., a predetermined number of spaces, used for typing material in columns, for fixed indentations, etc.
8.
a programmed command on a computer, actuated by a key, that moves the cursor or printhead a predetermined number of spaces, used for keying material in columns, for fixed indentations, etc.
9.
Theater.
  1. a small, often narrow, drop curtain, for masking part of the stage.
  2. tableau curtain.
10.
Aeronautics. a small airfoil hinged to the rear portion of a control surface, as to an elevator, aileron, or rudder.
Compare trim tab.
verb (used with object), tabbed, tabbing.
11.
to furnish or ornament with a tab or tabs.
12.
to name or designate.
verb (used without object), tabbed, tabbing.
13.
Also, tabulate. to operate the tab function on a typewriter or computer.
Idioms
14.
keep tabs / tab on, Informal. to keep an account of; check on; observe:
The police kept tabs on the suspect's activities.
Origin
1600-1610
1600-10; (in defs 1-3, 5) < ?; (in defs 7 and 8) short for tabulator; (in def 9) short for tableau; (in defs 4 and 14) partly from shortening of table, partly in sense of def. 1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for keep tabs on

tab1

/tæb/
noun
1.
a small flap of material, esp one on a garment for decoration or for fastening to a button
2.
any similar flap, such as a piece of paper attached to a file for identification
3.
a small auxiliary aerofoil on the trailing edge of a rudder, aileron, or elevator, etc, to assist in the control of the aircraft in flight See also trim tab
4.
(Brit, military) the insignia on the collar of a staff officer
5.
(mainly US & Canadian) a bill, esp one for a meal or drinks
6.
(Scot & Northern English, dialect) a cigarette
7.
(informal) keep tabs on, to keep a watchful eye on
verb tabs, tabbing, tabbed
8.
(transitive) to supply (files, clothing, etc) with a tab or tabs
Word Origin
C17: of unknown origin

tab2

/tæb/
noun
1.
short for tabulator, tablet
2.
(slang) a portion of a drug, esp LSD or ecstasy

TAB

abbreviation
1.
typhoid-paratyphoid A and B (vaccine)
2.
(Austral & NZ) Totalizator Agency Board
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for keep tabs on

tab

n.

"small flap," c.1600, possibly a dialectal word, of uncertain origin. Often interchangeable with tag (n.1). Cf. also Middle English tab "strap or string" (mid-15c.), Norwegian dialectal tave "piece of cloth, rag."

"account, bill, check," 1888, American English colloquial, probably a shortened form of tabulation or of tablet in the sense of "a sheet for writing on." Figurative phrase keep a tab on is recorded from 1890.

1961, shortened form of tablet (especially one of sugar containing LSD). As an abbreviation of tabloid (newspaper) it is 1990s slang. As a short form of tabulator key of a typewriter (later computer) it is recorded from 1916.

v.

"to designate, label," 1924, perhaps an alteration of tag (v.2). Related: Tabbed; tabbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for keep tabs on

keep tabs on

verb phrase

To keep informed about; keep watch on or over: Who's gonna keep tabs on the receipts?

[1888+; fr tab, ''bill, account'']


tab 1

noun phrase

The bill or check for something, esp for food or drink: three-or four-hundred-dollar tabs for unpaid liquor (1942+)

noun

A written acknowledgment of debt; iou: They're liable to go out and stick up a bank if they owe you a tab (1950s+)

Related Terms

pick up the tab

[origin unknown; perhaps a shortening of tabulation]


tab 2

verb

To identify or designate; label: I tabbed him immediately as a crook

[1924+; fr tab, ''a tied-on baggage label,'' of unknown origin; perhaps an alteration of tag]


tab 3

noun
  1. A tablet
  2. A dose of LSD; hit (1960s+ Narcotics)

tab 4

noun

A tabloid newspaper: just be sure the other tabs and the London papers don't have track pictures either (1990s+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for keep tabs on

tab

tablet

TAB

timing and acquisition bit
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with keep tabs on

keep tabs on

Observe carefully, keep a record of. For example, I hate having my boss keep tabs on my every move, or We've got to keep tabs on outgoing mail so we can keep track of postage. This expression uses to tab in the sense of “an account.” [ Late 1800s ]
Also see: keep track

tab

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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