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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 gaped
Historical Examples
  • Hinde gaped at him, incapable of expressing himself with sufficient force.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • One shoe reclined in the southwest corner and the other gaped in the northeast.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • He gaped at her vague, pearly face, as if she had suggested some enormity.


    Stephen French Whitman
  • He returned no answer and gaped about him full of consternation and passion.

    The Frozen Pirate W. Clark Russell
  • Bill Crane jumped from his horse, stretched his limbs, and gaped.

    The Young Miner Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • I turned and saw a knight, who asked me why I gaped like a mooncalf at the torn bird.

    King Arthur's Knights

    Henry Gilbert
  • Two of the members of Observation-Post Fourteen gaped after the retreating monster.

    Morale Murray Leinster
  • So they gaped at it and let it run wild, called it names, and threw stones at it.

    A Preface to Politics

    Walter Lippmann
  • I must have gone white for Don and Jane gaped at me in astonishment.

    The White Invaders Raymond King Cummings
  • He looked tired, and gaped several times as he was talking to me.

    Down South Oliver Optic
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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