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sap

sap, fluid in plants consisting of water and dissolved substances. Cell sap refers to this fluid present in the large vacuole, or cell cavity, that occupies most of the central portion of mature plant cells. The term sap is generally applied to all the fluid that travels through the vascular tissues (xylem and phloem) of higher plants. Water containing dissolved minerals enters the plant through the root hairs by osmosis and is transported upward through the xylem to the parts containing chlorophyll, usually the leaves. There, large amounts of water leave the plant by transpiration, although some is used in photosynthesis to produce food materials. The phloem carries the resulting highly concentrated colloidal solution down to the other plant parts for storage. Sap ascends at a rate of from 1 to 4 ft (30–122 cm) per hr; in the coast redwood it rises easily to a height of almost 400 ft (120 m). The exact mechanisms behind this enormous lifting force are not certain, although several principles are thought to be involved. Chief among them is the pull of transpiration; as water evaporates from the leaf cells, they draw in liquid osmotically from the xylem tubes to replace it. Because of the great cohesiveness of water molecules, the resulting tension affects the entire continuous column of water down to the root tips, which in turn absorb more water from the soil. Root pressure is another factor, although it can force the sap up only a limited distance and operates chiefly in the nongrowing season, which explains the sap flow when a leafless tree is tapped in winter. Atmospheric pressure and capillary attraction are minor factors. The sap of some plants (e.g., sugarcane, sugar maple) contains much sugar and is an article of commerce. The name sap is sometimes applied to latex (e.g., rubber), resin, and other specialized plant fluids.

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sap

sap / sap/ • n. the fluid, chiefly water with dissolved sugars and mineral salts, that circulates in the vascular system of a plant. ∎ fig. vigor or energy, esp. sexual vitality: the hot, heady days of youth when the sap was rising. • v. (sapped , sap·ping ) [tr.] gradually weaken or destroy (a person's strength or power): our energy is being sapped by bureaucrats and politicians. ∎  (sap someone of) drain someone of (strength or power): her illness had sapped her of energy and life. DERIVATIVES: sap·less adj. sap2 • n. hist. a tunnel or trench to conceal an assailant's approach to a fortified place. • v. (sapped , sap·ping ) [intr.] hist. dig a sap or saps. ∎  [tr.] archaic make insecure by removing the foundations of: a crazy building, sapped and undermined by the rats. ∎  [tr.] [often as n.] (sapping) Geog. undercut by water or glacial action. sap2 • n. inf. a foolish and gullible person: He fell for it! What a sap! sap3 inf. • n. a bludgeon or club. • v. (sapped , sap·ping ) [tr.] hit with a bludgeon or club.

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sap

sap2 †undermining a defence; construction of covered trenches to approach a besieged place XVI; trench so constructed XVII. Early forms zappe, sappe — It. zappa and the derived F. †sappe, †zappe (now sape) spade, spadework.
Hence sap vb. dig a sap XVI; undermine XVII; weaken insidiously (assoc. with SAP1, as if ‘drain the sap from’) XVIII. — F. saper, †sapper — It. zappare.

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sap

sap
1. The sugary fluid that is found in the phloem tissue of plants. Sap is the medium in which carbohydrates, produced in photosynthesis, and other organic molecules are transported and stored in plants.

2. (cell sap) The fluid that is contained in the vacuoles of plant cells. It is a solution of organic and inorganic compounds, including sugars, amino acids, salts, pigments, and waste products.

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sap

sap1 vital juice of plants OE.; sapwood, alburnum XV. OE. sæp, corr. to (M)LG., (M)Du. sap, OHG. saf (G. saft), prob. repr. Gmc. *sap(p)am, and rel. to ON. safi; cf. L. sapa must boiled until it is thick.
Hence sapling young tree XV; young person XVI.

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sap

sap Fluid that circulates water and nutrients through plants. Water is absorbed by the roots and carried, along with minerals, through the xylem to the leaves. Sap from the leaves is distributed throughout the plant.

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sap

sap The exudate from ruptured tissues emanating from the vascular system or parenchyma. See also LATEX and RESIN.

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sap

sap3 (colloq.) simpleton XIX. Short for sapskull (XVIII) ‘skull of sapwood’.

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sap

sapbap, cap, chap, clap, crap, dap, entrap, enwrap, flap, frap, gap, giftwrap, hap, Jap, knap, lap, Lapp, map, nap, nappe, pap, rap, sap, schappe, scrap, slap, snap, strap, tap, trap, wrap, yap, zap •stopgap • mayhap • mishap • madcap •blackcap • redcap • kneecap •handicap •nightcap, whitecap •snowcap, toecap •foolscap • hubcap • skullcap •dunce cap • handclap • dewlap •mudflap • thunderclap • burlap •bitmap • catnap • kidnap • Saranwrap •mantrap • claptrap • deathtrap •chinstrap • jockstrap • mousetrap •bootstrap • suntrap • firetrap •heeltap

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