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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for gaped
Historical Examples
  • With his arms at his side, his mouth wide open, he gaped at what the light revealed.

    The Web of the Golden Spider Frederick Orin Bartlett
  • He looked tired, and gaped several times as he was talking to me.

    Down South Oliver Optic
  • I hobbled past the man—he just gaped at me like a puddock on a hot day—and got to the foot of the stair and looked up.

    A Safety Match Ian Hay
  • His mouth, which had gaped loosely, closed with a snap into firm lines.

    The Beast of Space F.E. Hardart
  • Bill Crane jumped from his horse, stretched his limbs, and gaped.

    The Young Miner Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • Hinde gaped at him, incapable of expressing himself with sufficient force.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • When I asked one the other day for a colour to work an old brick wall, she gaped at me as if I were mad.

    Lady Cassandra Mrs George de Horne Vaizey
  • One shoe reclined in the southwest corner and the other gaped in the northeast.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • He gaped blindfolded for anything, and she gave him the map of Europe in tatters.

  • He gaped at her vague, pearly face, as if she had suggested some enormity.

    Sacrifice Stephen French Whitman
British Dictionary definitions for gaped


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 gaped



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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