From Middle English taper, from Old English tapor ("taper, candle, wick of a lamp"), of Unknown origin. Perhaps from Latin papyrus ("papyrus", used in Mediaeval times to mean "wick of a candle"). If so, it is a papyrus, and paper. Alternatively, of Celtic origin related to Irish tapar ("taper"), Welsh tampr ("a taper, torch"); further compare Sanskrit तपती ("(it) warms, gives out heat, is hot; (it) heats"). More at tepid.