[uh-geyp, uh-gap]

adverb, adjective

with the mouth wide open, as in wonder, surprise, or eagerness: We stood there agape at the splendor.
wide open: his mouth agape.

Origin of agape

First recorded in 1660–70; a-1 + gape


[ah-gah-pey, ah-guh-pey, ag-uh-]

noun, plural a·ga·pae [ah-gah-pahy, ah-guh-pahy, -pee] /ɑˈgɑ paɪ, ˈɑ gəˌpaɪ, -ˌpi/, a·ga·pai [ah-gah-pahy, ah-guh-pahy] /ɑˈgɑ paɪ, ˈɑ gəˌpaɪ/ for 4.

the love of God or Christ for humankind.
the love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind.
unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love.

Origin of agape

First recorded in 1600–10, agape is from the Greek word agápē ‘love’ Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for agape

Historical Examples of agape

  • Every eye was on her, and in the wide circle around every mouth was agape.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • Around this tomb we shall hold the 'Agape' upon the anniversary of his birthday.

  • The poor man stared at me in silence, agape with perplexity.


    Harry Collingwood

  • She led the way as she spoke, and the country people followed her, all agape.

    The Beth Book

    Sarah Grand

  • Then he went his way, leaving Wellington red, agape and perplexed.

    Excuse Me!

    Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for agape


adjective (postpositive)

(esp of the mouth) wide open
very surprised, expectant, or eager, esp as indicated by a wide open mouth

Word Origin for agape

C17: a- ² + gape


noun Christianity

Christian love, esp as contrasted with erotic love; charity
a communal meal in the early Church taken in commemoration of the Last Supper; love feast

Word Origin for Agape

C17: Greek agapē love
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 agape

c.1600, from Greek agape "brotherly love, charity," from agapan "greet with affection, love," of unknown origin. Agape was used by early Christians for their "love feast" held in connection with the Lord's Supper. In modern use, often in simpler sense of "Christian love" (1856, frequently opposed to eros as "carnal or sensual love").


1660s, from a- (1) + gape (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper