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[guhl] /gʌl/
any of numerous long-winged, web-toed, aquatic birds of the family Laridae, having usually white plumage with a gray back and wings.
Origin of gull1
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English gulle, perhaps < Welsh gŵylan, Cornish guilan (compare French goéland < Breton gwelan)
Related forms
gull-like, adjective


[guhl] /gʌl/
verb (used with object)
to deceive, trick, or cheat.
a person who is easily deceived or cheated; dupe.
First recorded in 1540-50; perhaps akin to obsolete gull to swallow, guzzle
1. cozen, dupe, fool, bamboozle, hoodwink. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gull
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It's easy to gull you, for you can't see any further than a child of five.

  • I can sprawl on that seaweed and be as comfortable as a gull on a clam flat.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • Then he sighed, picked up his pencil and turned again to the drawing of the gull.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • The place was very quiet and rather cold, but all as clean as a gull's wing.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Always he appeared a white dot on the blue horizon, like the flash of a gull.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • Very soon he had an opportunity of assisting to gull the public on a great scale.

    Captains of Industry James Parton
  • Overhead the sharp scream of a gull cut through the stillness.

  • The master of the "gull" came near dropping his pipe with amazement.

    Culm Rock Glance Gaylord
British Dictionary definitions for gull


any aquatic bird of the genus Larus and related genera, such as L. canus (common gull or mew) having long pointed wings, short legs, and a mostly white plumage: family Laridae, order Charadriiformes related adjective larine
Derived Forms
gull-like, adjective
Word Origin
C15: of Celtic origin; compare Welsh gwylan


a person who is easily fooled or cheated
(transitive) to fool, cheat, or hoax
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from dialect gull unfledged bird, probably from gul, from Old Norse gulr yellow
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 gull

shore bird, early 15c. (in a cook book), probably from Brythonic Celtic, cf. Welsh gwylan "gull," Cornish guilan, Breton goelann; all from Old Celtic *voilenno-. Replaced Old English mæw (see mew (n.1)).


cant term for "dupe, sucker, credulous person," 1590s, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from verb meaning "to dupe, cheat" (1540s), earlier "to swallow" (1520s), ultimately from gull "throat, gullet" (early 15c.); see gullet. Or it is perhaps from (or influenced by) the bird (see gull (n.1)); in either case with a sense of "someone who will swallow anything thrown at him." Another possibility is Middle English dialectal gull "newly hatched bird" (late 14c.), which is perhaps from Old Norse golr "yellow," from the hue of its down.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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