9 Grammatical Pitfalls
"liquid in a plant," Old English sæpm from Proto-Germanic *sapam (cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Dutch sap, Old High German saf, German Saft "juice"), from PIE *sab- "juice, fluid" (cf. Latin sapere "to taste"), from root *sab- "juice, fluid" (cf. Sanskrit sabar- "sap, milk, nectar," Irish sug, Russian soku "sap," Lithuanian sakas "tree-gum"). As a verb meaning "To drain the sap from," 1725.
"simpleton," 1815, originally especially in Scottish and English schoolboy slang, probably from earlier sapskull (1735), saphead (1798), from sap as a shortened form of sapwood "soft wood between the inner bark and the heartwood" (late 14c.), from sap (n.1) + wood (n.); so called because it conducts the sap; cf. sappy.
"dig a trench toward the enemy's position," 1590s, from Middle French saper, from sappe "spade," from Late Latin sappa "spade" (cf. Italian zappa, Spanish zapa "spade"). Extended sense "weaken or destroy insidiously" is from 1755, probably influenced by the verb form of sap (n.1), on the notion of "draining the vital sap from." Related: Sapped; sapping.
"hit with a sap," 1926, from sap (n.3). Related: Sapped; sapping.
A stupid person; fool, esp a gullible one: Quit acting like a sap
[1815+; fr British dialect, short for sapskull, ''person with a head full of soft material''; probably influenced by early 1800s British schoolboy slang, ''compulsive studier, grind,'' which is probably fr sap as an ironic abbreviation of Latin sapiens, ''wise,'' and is hence semantically akin to sophomore]
A blackjack; bludgeon: The sap, a nice little tool about five inches long, covered with woven brown leather (1899+)verb
: One of the others sapped him from behind with the blackjack (1926+)
[perhaps fr Middle English sappe,''shovel,''theshovelbeingforagesapopularclub]