Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for gawking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • gawking and gaping as though 'twere Christmas and Roman candles going off!

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • For fifteen years I have been the 'objective' of the gawking squad.

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
  • He had gone about gawking in places he couldn't have had he been visible.

    The Common Man Guy McCord (AKA Dallas McCord Reynolds)
  • Here, you people, don't stand there gawking like a lot of dotty chumps!

    Corporal Cameron Ralph Connor
  • "'Tend to your business, there; don't be gawking around," said the Orderly sternly.

  • After closing the door behind him, he stepped to the piazza, and stopped on the edge of it, gawking around like a country lout.

    Edith and John Franklin S. Farquhar
  • Like a flash the others followed him, and stood at attention just in his rear, gawking and peering in our direction.

    Bamboo Tales Ira L. Reeves
British Dictionary definitions for gawking


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for gawking



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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for gawking



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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for gawking

Word Value for gawking

Scrabble Words With Friends