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[gad] /gæd/
verb (used without object), gadded, gadding.
to move restlessly or aimlessly from one place to another:
to gad about.
the act of gadding.
Origin of gad1
late Middle English
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 forms
gadder, noun
gaddingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gadding
Historical Examples
  • Not in gadding, for she might not pass the imprisoning wall.

    Idolatry Julian Hawthorne
  • You keep her out of harm's way and gadding, and so she never CAN be found out.

    Roundabout Papers William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Her hand seeketh employment; her foot delighteth not in gadding about.

  • "Oh, I'm never too tired for gadding," replied Cecile with animation.

    At the Little Brown House Ruth Alberta Brown
  • Going, gadding, frivolling, flirting—that was the old Harvey.

    What's-His-Name George Barr McCutcheon
  • He did not have nearly so much time for gadding, and Miss Eliza was pleased.

    The Heart of Arethusa Francis Barton Fox
  • She possesseth an active and gadding mind, totally incommensurate with her person.

  • I dare say they're standing supperless in their stalls while you're gadding about.

    Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood George MacDonald
  • Priscilla's gay and gadding existence had come to an abrupt end.

    Crome Yellow Aldous Huxley
  • Yet, let us not forget that this is the age of the gadding mind and the grabbing hand.

    Women's Wild Oats C. Gasquoine Hartley
British Dictionary definitions for gadding


verb gads, gadding, gadded
(intransitive; often foll by about or around) to go out in search of pleasure, esp in an aimless manner; gallivant
carefree adventure (esp in the phrase on or upon the gad)
Derived Forms
gadder, noun
Word Origin
C15: back formation from obsolete gadling companion, from Old English, from gæd fellowship; related to Old High German gatuling


(mining) a short chisel-like instrument for breaking rock or coal from the face
a goad for driving cattle
a western US word for spur (sense 1)
verb gads, gadding, gadded
(transitive) (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
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
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
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Word Origin and History for gadding



"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
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Related Abbreviations for gadding


glutamate decarboxylase
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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gadding in the Bible

fortune; luck. (1.) Jacob's seventh son, by Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, and the brother of Asher (Gen. 30:11-13; 46:16, 18). In the Authorized Version of 30:11 the words, "A troop cometh: and she called," etc., should rather be rendered, "In fortune [R.V., 'Fortunate']: and she called," etc., or "Fortune cometh," etc. The tribe of Gad during the march through the wilderness had their place with Simeon and Reuben on the south side of the tabernacle (Num. 2:14). The tribes of Reuben and Gad continued all through their history to follow the pastoral pursuits of the patriarchs (Num. 32:1-5). The portion allotted to the tribe of Gad was on the east of Jordan, and comprehended the half of Gilead, a region of great beauty and fertility (Deut. 3:12), bounded on the east by the Arabian desert, on the west by the Jordan (Josh. 13:27), and on the north by the river Jabbok. It thus included the whole of the Jordan valley as far north as to the Sea of Galilee, where it narrowed almost to a point. This tribe was fierce and warlike; they were "strong men of might, men of war for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, their faces the faces of lions, and like roes upon the mountains for swiftness" (1 Chr. 12:8; 5:19-22). Barzillai (2 Sam. 17:27) and Elijah (1 Kings 17:1) were of this tribe. It was carried into captivity at the same time as the other tribes of the northern kingdom by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chr. 5:26), and in the time of Jeremiah (49:1) their cities were inhabited by the Ammonites. (2.) A prophet who joined David in the "hold," and at whose advice he quitted it for the forest of Hareth (1 Chr. 29:29; 2 Chr. 29:25; 1 Sam. 22:5). Many years after we find mention made of him in connection with the punishment inflicted for numbering the people (2 Sam. 24:11-19; 1 Chr. 21:9-19). He wrote a book called the "Acts of David" (1 Chr. 29:29), and assisted in the arrangements for the musical services of the "house of God" (2 Chr. 29:25). He bore the title of "the king's seer" (2 Sam. 24:11, 13; 1 Chr. 21:9).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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