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early 15c., "plug, bung," from Middle French tampon, nasalized variant of Old French tapon "piece of cloth to stop a hole" (late 14c.), a suffixed form of Frankish *tappo "stopper, plug," related to Old High German zapfo and Old English tæppa "stopper" (see tap (2)). Meaning "wooden plug for the muzzle of a gun" (to keep out rain or seawater) is recorded from 1620s.