Tapping and taping are two different words with different meanings. In everyday language, the former usually refers to striking against something with a quick, light blow, series of blows, or a sound made this way. The latter refers to recording audio or videos or fastening something with adhesive tape. However, both words have several more definitions and use, requiring a comprehensive but easy-to-understand comparison, which we’ll do without further ado.
- To strike lightly with a quick motion: This can refer to making a quick, light impact on something. For example, you might tap a friend’s shoulder to get their attention or tap your foot to the beat of a song.
- To perform a dance step involving quick, rhythmic footwork: This can refer to a specific type of dance move, often associated with tap dance. For example, a tap dancer might perform a series of taps with their feet to create a percussive rhythm.
- To draw a liquid out of a container: This can refer to using a tool, such as a spigot or a straw, to extract a liquid from a container. For example, you might tap a keg of beer to dispense it into a glass or tap a maple tree to collect sap for making syrup.
- To access or use a resource: This can refer to accessing a source of information or a supply of something. For example, you might tap into your personal network to find a job or tap into your creativity to come up with a new idea.
- To intercept or eavesdrop on electronic communication: This can refer to surreptitiously accessing electronic communication, such as phone lines or email accounts, to gather information. For example, a spy might tap a phone line to listen in on a conversation between two people.
Tapping can also be used figuratively to describe some actions or concepts, such as in the following examples:
- To tap into one’s emotions: This can refer to accessing and exploring one’s feelings or emotions. For example, a therapist might encourage patients to tap into their emotions to better understand and process them.
- To tap into a market: This can refer to identifying and accessing a particular market or customer base for a product or service. For example, a business might tap into the growing demand for eco-friendly products by creating a line of sustainable household goods.
- To tap into one’s potential: This can refer to recognizing and developing one’s abilities or talents. For example, a coach might encourage athletes to tap into their full potential by pushing themselves to improve their performance.
- To tap into a trend: This can refer to identifying and leveraging a current trend or cultural movement. For example, a fashion designer might tap into the trend for 90s-inspired clothing by creating a collection incorporating retro elements.
- To attach or secure something with tape: This can refer to using adhesive tape to fix or fasten an object in place. For example, you might tape a poster to a wall or tape a package shut for shipping.
- To cover or seal something with tape: This can refer to using tape to cover or seal a container or package. For example, you might tape a box closed before shipping it or tape a leaky pipe to prevent further damage.
- To record a performance or event using a tape recorder: This can refer to using a magnetic tape recorder to capture audio or video of a live event. For example, a musician might tape a concert to create a live album, or a news reporter might tape an interview to use in a news broadcast.
- To provide support or stability to a joint or injury with a tape or bandage: This can refer to using a specialized adhesive tape or bandage to support or protect a part of the body. For example, an athlete might tape their ankle to prevent injury during a game, or a physical therapist might tape a patient’s shoulder to help with rehabilitation.