• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to stare stupidly; gape: The onlookers gawked at arriving celebrities.
  1. 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


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. peer, ogle, gaze, goggle, rubberneck.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

British Dictionary definitions for gawking


  1. a clumsy stupid person; lout
  1. (intr) 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

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