taper

Definitions

General English

  • verb to make something thinner at the end
  • verb to become thinner at the end

General Science

Banking

  • noun a new system of reducing capital gains tax payable when shares are sold, according to the length of time the shares have been held

Cars & Driving

  • noun a gradual reduction in size of a long round object towards one end (e.g. of a bore, piston, journal)

Electronics

  • A gradual reduction in the thickness, width, or diameter of an object or section. Also, the overall reduction in thickness, width, or diameter, per unit length.
  • A gradual reduction in intensity or amplitude. Also, the rate of such a reduction per unit time, length, or the like.
  • A uniform rate of change in a property which is proportional to a change in a mechanical position or setting such as rotation or length. For example, the changes in resistance in a potentiometer as a sliding tap is moved, or a change in the cross section of a waveguide.

Origin & History of “taper”

Taper is ultimately the same word as paper. both go bach to Latin papyrus ‘papyrus’. This was used among other things for a ‘candlewick made from papyrus’, and hence for a ‘candle’. It seems to have been borrowed in this sense into Old English as *papur, and by a process known as dissimilation (in which one of a pair of similar speech sounds is changed, so as to break up the pair) it became tapur. The verb taper ‘become narrower’, which emerged in the 16th century, is an allusion to the shape of the candle.
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