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[geyj] /geɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), gauged, gauging.
to determine the exact dimensions, capacity, quantity, or force of; measure.
to appraise, estimate, or judge.
to make conformable to a standard.
to mark or measure off; delineate.
to prepare or mix (plaster) with a definite proportion of plaster of Paris and mortar.
to chip or rub (bricks or stones) to a uniform size or shape.
a standard of measure or measurement.
a standard dimension, size, or quantity.
any device or instrument for measuring, registering measurements, or testing something, especially for measuring a dimension, quantity, or mechanical accuracy:
pressure gauge; marking gauge.
a means of estimating or judging; criterion; test.
extent; scope; capacity:
trying to determine the gauge of his own strength.
Ordnance. a unit of measure of the internal diameter of a shotgun barrel, determined by the number of spherical lead bullets of a diameter equal to that of the bore that are required to make one pound:
a twelve-gauge shotgun.
Railroads. the distance between the inner edges of the heads of the rails in a track, usually 4 feet 8.5 inches (1.4 meters) (standard gauge) but sometimes more (broad gauge) and sometimes less (narrow gauge)
the distance between a pair of wheels on an axle.
the thickness or diameter of various, usually thin, objects, as the thickness of sheet metal or the diameter of a wire or screw.
the fineness of a knitted fabric as expressed in loops per every 1.5 inches (3.8 cm):
15 denier, 60 gauge stockings.
Nautical. the position of one vessel as being to the windward (weather gauge) or to the leeward (lee gauge) of another vessel on an approximately parallel course.
Building Trades. the portion of the length of a slate, tile, etc., left exposed when laid in place.
the amount of plaster of Paris mixed with mortar or common plaster to hasten the set.
Also, especially in technical use, gage.
Origin of gauge
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Old North French (French jauge) < Germanic
Related forms
gaugeable, adjective
gaugeably, adverb
misgauge, verb (used with object), misgauged, misgauging.
multigauge, adjective
regauge, verb (used with object), regauged, regauging.
self-gauging, adjective
ungauged, adjective
2. evaluate, assess, value, calculate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gauges
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is very little room for romance in a world which gauges success by the measure of a reputed bank balance.

    People of Position Stanley Portal Hyatt
  • Four are assorted for gauges of different radii, for moulding-irons, etc.

  • He gauges the capacity and facilities of each retail customer, and then gives him practical help to keep the stock moving.

    All About Coffee William H. Ukers
  • Faces and motives were to him what gauges and log-entries were to the Engineer.

    Breaking Point James E. Gunn
  • Which, I ask, is the greater—the man who tells the time by the sun and the stars or he who gauges it with the watch?

    When Dreams Come True Ritter Brown
  • Glancing about, he located the gauges that reported the air pressure beyond.

    This World Must Die! Horace Brown Fyfe
  • It is by her response that he gauges his chances and speaks of marriage.

    The Street of Seven Stars Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The implements and the products of industry are the gauges of civilization.

British Dictionary definitions for gauges


verb (transitive)
to measure or determine the amount, quantity, size, condition, etc, of
to estimate or appraise; judge
to check for conformity or bring into conformity with a standard measurement, dimension, etc
a standard measurement, dimension, capacity, or quantity
any of various instruments for measuring a quantity: a pressure gauge
any of various devices used to check for conformity with a standard measurement
a standard or means for assessing; test; criterion
scope, capacity, or extent
the diameter of the barrel of a gun, esp a shotgun
the thickness of sheet metal or the diameter of wire
the distance between the rails of a railway track: in Britain 4 ft 81/2 in. (1.435 m)
the distance between two wheels on the same axle of a vehicle, truck, etc
(nautical) the position of a vessel in relation to the wind and another vessel. One vessel may be windward (weather gauge) or leeward (lee gauge) of the other
the proportion of plaster of Paris added to mortar to accelerate its setting
the distance between the nails securing the slates, tiles, etc, of a roof
a measure of the fineness of woven or knitted fabric, usually expressed as the number of needles used per inch
the width of motion-picture film or magnetic tape
(of a pressure measurement) measured on a pressure gauge that registers zero at atmospheric pressure; above or below atmospheric pressure: 5 bar gauge See also absolute (sense 10)
Derived Forms
gaugeable, gageable, adjective
gaugeably, gageably, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Old Northern French, probably of Germanic origin
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 gauges



"ascertain by exact measurements," mid-15c., from Anglo-French gauge (mid-14c.), from Old North French gauger (Old French jauger), from gauge "gauging rod," perhaps from Frankish *galgo "rod, pole for measuring" or another Germanic source (cf. Old Norse gelgja "pole, perch," Old High German galgo; see gallows). Related: Gauged; gauging. The figurative use is from 1580s.


"fixed standard of measure," early 15c. (surname Gageman is early 14c.), from Old North French gauge "gauging rod" (see gauge (v.)). Meaning "instrument for measuring" is from 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gauges

gauge 1


A shotgun: a shotgun is called ''the gauge,'' explained Officer Phil Lee/ This man took a gauge (Armond pantomimes holding a gun, then bends over to dodge from it) and two people end up dead

[1970s+ Underworld & police; fr the use of gauge to designate the caliber of a shotgun]

gauge 2


Marijuana; grass, pot, weed

[1930s+ Narcotics; origin unknown; perhaps from gaged, ''drunk'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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