Tape Definition

Tape, n, A continuous narrow, flexible strip of cloth, metal, paper, or plastic. Conspicuously absent: any mention of stickiness (think of "cassette tape" or "ticker tape"). The sense that tape must be sticky is a back-propagation from "adhesive tape." The original red tape was made of cloth and was used to hold together bundles of legal documents (like we might use packing twine); but since the newer, gluey, meaning of "tape" is plausible in this context, the metaphor that red tape is sticky stuff has stuck.