Webster 1913 Edition



a female tapster. See
a plug, pipe, and
One whose business is to tap or draw ale or other liquor.

Webster 1828 Edition



One whose business is to draw ale or other liquor.

Definition 2022





tapster (plural tapsters)

  1. One whose business is to tap or draw ale or other liquor; barkeep
    • 1478, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Prologue, 240-42,
      He knew the tavernes wel in every toun / And everich hostiler and tappestere / Bet than a lazar or a beggestere;
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I, Scene 3,
      [] A tapster is a good trade: an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a withered serving-man a fresh tapster.
    • 1609, Thomas Dekker, Lanthorne and Candle-light, in The Guls Hornbook and The Belman of London, London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1936, p. 265,
      There is a Twin-brother to this False-galloper, and hee cheats Inne-keepers onely, or their Tapsters, by learning first what Country-men they are, and of what kindred: and then bringing counterfeit letters of commendations from such an Uncle, or such a Coozen (wherein is requested, that the Bearer thereof may bee used kindely) []
    • 1742, Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews, Vol. I, Chapter XVI,
      About the second watch a general complaint of drought was made, both by the prisoner and his keepers. Among whom it was at last agreed that the constable should remain on duty, and the young fellow call up the tapster; in which disposition the latter apprehended not the least danger, as the constable was well armed, and could besides easily summon him back to his assistance, if the prisoner made the least attempt to gain his liberty.
    • 1878, John Payne, Introduction, in François Villon, Poems, translated by John Payne, New York: Boni & Liveright, c. 1918, p. 33
      [] in a twinkling the accomplished sharper changes the pitchers and pretending to examine the contents, asks the tapster what kind of wine he has given him []

Related terms


  • tapster in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913