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[gawk] /gɔk/
verb (used without object)
to stare stupidly; gape:
The onlookers gawked at arriving celebrities.
an awkward, foolish person.
Origin of gawk
1775-85; apparently representing OE word meaning fool, equivalent to ga(gol) foolish + -oc -ock; used attributively in gawk hand, gallock hand left hand
1. peer, ogle, gaze, goggle, rubberneck. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gawk
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bridget may have been a gawk, but she did two things which were not gawkish.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • And as for that maypole of a daughter, she's nothing but a gawk.

    The Making of a Soul

    Kathlyn Rhodes
  • In the library and parlor, he confesses he is as a gawk or one dumb.

    Whitman John Burroughs
  • It made me laugh to see the gawk skulking along in the rear.

    An Artist in Crime Rodrigues Ottolengui
  • "Lave it to me," said a rough voice, and Billy the gawk stepped out.

    The Deemster

    Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for gawk


a clumsy stupid person; lout
(intransitive) to stare in a stupid way; gape
Word Origin
C18: from Old Danish gaukr; probably related to gape
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 gawk

1785, American English, perhaps from gaw, a survival from Middle English gowen "to stare" (c.1200), from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse ga "to heed," from Proto-Germanic *gawon-, from PIE *ghow-e- "to honor, revere, worship" (see favor (n.)); and altered perhaps by gawk hand (see gawky). Liberman writes that it "need not have been derived from gowk. It is possibly another independent imitative formation with the structure g-k. Related: Gawked; gawking.

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



To stare; gape stupidly: locals gathered to gawk at strange lights/ They went in and out of the garage to gawk at the body

[1785+; fr dialect gawk, gouk, ''fool, idiot,'' literally ''cuckoo'']

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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