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[geyp, gap] /geɪp, gæp/
verb (used without object), gaped, gaping.
to stare with open mouth, as in wonder.
to open the mouth wide involuntarily, as the result of hunger, sleepiness, or absorbed attention.
to open as a gap; split or become open wide.
a wide opening; gap; breach.
an act or instance of gaping.
a stare, as in astonishment or with the mouth wide open.
a yawn.
Zoology. the width of the open mouth.
Origin of gape
1175-1225; Middle English < Old Norse gapa to open the mouth wide; compare German gaffen
Related forms
gapingly, adverb
subgape, verb (used without object), subgaped, subgaping.
ungaping, adjective
1. See gaze. 2, 3. yawn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gape
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But I could not speak; I could only gape, choking and giddy.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • The gape of his enormous jaws was nearly as wide as the gateway of the king's palace.

    Tanglewood Tales Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Duke sank back in his chair to gape at his impetuous cousin.

    Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini
  • At that instant the whole of the heavens seemed to split and gape open.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
  • They gape round him while he twangs and screeches, the wind-bag!

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • People came all the way from Sicyonia and Tyre to gape at it.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken
  • So they were forst to selle of some of their provissions to stop this gape, which was some 3.

  • "You must be tired, Marian," I said to my fair companion, as I heard her gape.

    Desk and Debit Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for gape


verb (intransitive)
to stare in wonder or amazement, esp with the mouth open
to open the mouth wide, esp involuntarily, as in yawning or hunger
to be or become wide open: the crater gaped under his feet
the act of gaping
a wide opening; breach
the width of the widely opened mouth of a vertebrate
a stare or expression of astonishment
See also gapes
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse gapa; related to Middle Dutch gapen, Danish gabe
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 gape

early 13c., from an unrecorded Old English word or else from Old Norse gapa "to open the mouth, gape," common West Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch, Dutch gapen, German gaffen "to gape, stare," Swedish gapa, Danish gabe), from PIE *ghai- (see gap). Related: Gaped; gaping. As a noun, from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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