This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions. You can also discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.
Particularly: “What sense of tab?”


keep tabs on ‎(third-person singular simple present keeps tabs on, present participle keeping tabs on, simple past and past participle kept tabs on)

  1. (idiomatic) To monitor; to keep track of; to watch.
    If you are careful to keep tabs on your finances, you should be able to stay within a budget.
    The police kept close tabs on him during the holidays.
    • 1910, Stewart Edward White, The Rules of the Game ch. 85:
      He might have spent the hours camped under the trees of the more remote meadow, whence in the brilliant moonlight he could keep tabs on the trails.
    • 1919, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Rainbow Valley, ch. 16:
      I'll catch him—I'll trip him up—I'll keep tabs on his arguments.
    • 2010, Andrew Lee Butters, "Why the U.S. Is Back on the Road to Damascus," Time:
      Syria's much feared state-security apparatus keeps close tabs on everyone entering and leaving the embassy.

Usage notesEdit