taper

To taper is to gradually grow smaller or more narrow or less intense. Taper is often used with the word "off." Part of the power of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is how the two walls appear to taper off into infinity.

As a verb, taper can refer not just to physical objects that narrow: the weather forecast might call for heavy snow that will taper off at the end of the day, and public interest in a political scandal might taper off over time. As a noun, taper refers to a shape that narrows at one end, and it's also another word for a candle that is smaller at one end than the other. "Narrow candle" is the original meaning of the word, and it seems to derive from the Latin papyrus, which was once used to make candle wicks.

Primary Meanings of taper

1.
vn
diminish gradually
a convex shape that narrows toward a point
2.
n
a loosely woven cord (in a candle or oil lamp) that draws fuel by capillary action up into the flame
Full Definitions of taper
1

v diminish gradually

“Interested tapered off”
Type of:
decrease, diminish, fall, lessen
decrease in size, extent, or range

v give a point to

“The candles are tapered
Synonyms:
point, sharpen
Types:
acuminate
make sharp or acute; taper; make (something) come to a point
Type of:
change form, change shape, deform
assume a different shape or form

n a convex shape that narrows toward a point

Type of:
convex shape, convexity
a shape that curves or bulges outward

n the property possessed by a shape that narrows toward a point (as a wedge or cone)

Types:
point, pointedness
the property of a shape that tapers to a sharp tip
unpointedness
the property of having only a dull tip (if any)
Type of:
narrowing
an instance of becoming narrow
2

n a loosely woven cord (in a candle or oil lamp) that draws fuel by capillary action up into the flame

Synonyms:
wick
Types:
candlewick
the wick of a candle
Type of:
cord
a line made of twisted fibers or threads

n stick of wax with a wick in the middle

Synonyms:
candle, wax light
Types:
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
chandlery
candles and other commodities sold by a chandler
dip
a candle that is made by repeated dipping in a pool of wax or tallow
rush candle, rushlight
a tallow candle with a rush stem as the wick
vigil candle, vigil light
a candle lighted by a worshiper in a church
Type of:
lamp
an artificial source of visible illumination

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