- a sudden, short intake of breath, as in shock or surprise.
- a convulsive effort to breathe.
- a short, convulsive utterance: the words came out in gasps.
- to catch one's breath.
- to struggle for breath with the mouth open; breathe convulsively.
- to long with breathless eagerness; desire; crave (usually followed by for or after).
- to utter with gasps (often followed by out, forth, away, etc.): She gasped out the words.
- to breathe or emit with gasps (often followed by away).
- last gasp, the point of death; dying: At his last gasp he confessed to the murder.
Origin of gasp
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (intr) to draw in the breath sharply, convulsively, or with effort, esp in expressing awe, horror, etc
- (intr; foll by after or for) to crave
- (tr often foll by out) to utter or emit breathlessly
- a short convulsive intake of breath
- a short convulsive burst of speech
- at the last gasp
- at the point of death
- at the last moment
Word Origin and History for last gasp
late 14c., gaspen, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse geispa "to yawn," or its Danish derivative gispe "gasp," which probably are related to Old Norse gapa (see gape). Related: Gasped; gasping.
1570s, from gasp (v.).
Idioms and Phrases with last gasp
The moment before death; also, the end. For example, “Fight till the last gasp” (Shakespeare, 1 Henry VI, 1:2), or He was determined to stay at the party until the last gasp. This idiom alludes to taking one's last breath, literally (first example) or figuratively (second example). [Late 1500s]
see last gasp.