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verb (used without object), gad·ded, gad·ding.
  1. to move restlessly or aimlessly from one place to another: to gad about.
  1. the act of gadding.

Origin of gad1

1425–75; late Middle English gadden, perhaps back formation from gadeling companion in arms, fellow (in 16th century, vagabond, wanderer), Old English gædeling, derivative of gæd fellowship; see gather, -ling1
Related formsgad·der, noungad·ding·ly, adverb


  1. a goad for driving cattle.
  2. a pointed mining tool for breaking up rock, coal, etc.

Origin of gad2

1175–1225; Middle English < Old Norse gaddr spike; cognate with Gothic gazds


or gad

  1. (used as a mild oath.)

Origin of Gad1

First recorded in 1600–10; euphemism for God


  1. a son of Zilpah. Gen. 30:11.
  2. one of the twelve tribes of Israel, traditionally descended from him.
  3. a Hebrew prophet and chronicler of the court of David. II Sam. 24:11–19.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gad

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Then it's better to take him out back of the barn and shoot him, by Gad!

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • My master and I obtain our knowledge from the same source;—though, gad!

    The Contrast

    Royall Tyler

  • She itched all over, longing to break loose and gad all the time, as father Coupeau said.


    Emile Zola

  • Do you suppose a housewife has nothing better to do than gad about?

    The Great Hunger

    Johan Bojer

  • He purpled with laughing and said: ‘Gad, she’ll always have her way!

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

British Dictionary definitions for gad


verb gads, gadding or gadded
  1. (intr; often foll by about or around) to go out in search of pleasure, esp in an aimless manner; gallivant
  1. carefree adventure (esp in the phrase on or upon the gad)
Derived Formsgadder, noun

Word Origin

C15: back formation from obsolete gadling companion, from Old English, from gæd fellowship; related to Old High German gatuling


  1. mining a short chisel-like instrument for breaking rock or coal from the face
  2. a goad for driving cattle
  3. a western US word for spur (def. 1)
verb gads, gadding or gadded
  1. (tr) mining to break up or loosen with a gad

Word Origin

C13: from Old Norse gaddr spike; related to Old High German gart, Gothic gazds spike


noun, interjection
  1. an archaic euphemism for God by Gad!


noun Old Testament
    1. Jacob's sixth son, whose mother was Zilpah, Leah's maid
    2. the Israelite tribe descended from him
    3. the territory of this tribe, lying to the east of the Jordan and extending southwards from the Sea of Galilee
  1. a prophet and admonisher of David (I Samuel 22; II Samuel 24)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gad


"to rove about," mid-15c., perhaps a back-formation from Middle English gadeling (Old English gædeling) "kinsman, fellow, companion in arms," but which had a deteriorated sense of "rogue, vagabond" by c.1300 (it also had a meaning "wandering," but this is attested only from 16c.); or else it should be associated with gad (n.) "a goad for driving cattle." Related: Gadding.


"goad, metal rod," early 13c., from Old Norse gaddr "spike, nail," from Proto-Germanic *gadaz "pointed stick" (see yard (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper