1. the juice or vital circulating fluid of a plant, especially of a woody plant.
  2. any vital body fluid.
  3. energy; vitality.
  4. sapwood.
  5. Slang. a fool; dupe.
  6. Metallurgy. soft metal at the core of a bar of blister steel.

verb (used with object), sapped, sap·ping.

  1. to drain the sap from.


  1. Fortification. a deep, narrow trench constructed so as to form an approach to a besieged place or an enemy’s position.

verb (used with object), sapped, sap·ping.

  1. Fortification.
    1. to approach (a besieged place or an enemy position) by means of deep, narrow trenches protected by gabions or parapets.
    2. to dig such trenches in (ground).
  2. to undermine; weaken or destroy insidiously.

verb (used without object), sapped, sap·ping.

  1. Fortification. to dig a sap.


  1. a solution of mineral salts, sugars, etc, that circulates in a plant
  2. any vital body fluid
  3. energy; vigour
  4. slang a gullible or foolish person
  5. another name for sapwood

verb saps, sapping or sapped (tr)

  1. to drain of sap


  1. a deep and narrow trench used to approach or undermine an enemy position, esp in siege warfare

verb saps, sapping or sapped

  1. to undermine (a fortification, etc) by digging saps
  2. (tr) to weaken

abbreviation for

  1. South African Police

n acronym for (in Britain)

  1. Standard Assessment Procedure, the recognized performance indicator for measuring energy efficiency in buildings

n.1“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. n.2“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. v.1“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. n.3“club, stick for hitting,” 1899, from shortening of sapwood (see sap (n.2)) or sapling. v.2“hit with a sap,” 1926, from sap (n.3). Related: Sapped; sapping.

  1. The watery fluid that circulates through a plant that has vascular tissues. Sap moving up the xylem carries water and minerals, while sap moving down the phloem carries water and food.
  2. See cell sap.

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