• synonyms


verb (used without object), gad·ded, gad·ding.
  1. to move restlessly or aimlessly from one place to another: to gad about.
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  1. the act of gadding.
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Origin of gad1

1425–75; late Middle English gadden, perhaps back formation from gadeling companion in arms, fellow (in 16th century, vagabond, wanderer), Old English gædeling, derivative of gæd fellowship; see gather, -ling1
Related formsgad·der, noungad·ding·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for gadding

Historical Examples

  • I dare say they're standing supperless in their stalls while you're gadding about.

    Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood

    George MacDonald

  • Yet, let us not forget that this is the age of the gadding mind and the grabbing hand.

    Women's Wild Oats

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • You keep her out of harm's way and gadding, and so she never CAN be found out.

    Roundabout Papers

    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • That comes, I suppose, from not looking after her servants and gadding about on all sorts of charities.


    Ellen Glasgow

  • "Oh, I'm never too tired for gadding," replied Cecile with animation.

    At the Little Brown House

    Ruth Alberta Brown

British Dictionary definitions for gadding


verb gads, gadding or gadded
  1. (intr; often foll by about or around) to go out in search of pleasure, esp in an aimless manner; gallivant
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  1. carefree adventure (esp in the phrase on or upon the gad)
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Derived Formsgadder, noun

Word Origin

C15: back formation from obsolete gadling companion, from Old English, from gæd fellowship; related to Old High German gatuling


  1. mining a short chisel-like instrument for breaking rock or coal from the face
  2. a goad for driving cattle
  3. a western US word for spur (def. 1)
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verb gads, gadding or gadded
  1. (tr) mining to break up or loosen with a gad
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Word Origin

C13: from Old Norse gaddr spike; related to Old High German gart, Gothic gazds spike


noun, interjection
  1. an archaic euphemism for God by Gad!
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noun Old Testament
    1. Jacob's sixth son, whose mother was Zilpah, Leah's maid
    2. the Israelite tribe descended from him
    3. the territory of this tribe, lying to the east of the Jordan and extending southwards from the Sea of Galilee
  1. a prophet and admonisher of David (I Samuel 22; II Samuel 24)
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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 gadding



"to rove about," mid-15c., perhaps a back-formation from Middle English gadeling (Old English gædeling) "kinsman, fellow, companion in arms," but which had a deteriorated sense of "rogue, vagabond" by c.1300 (it also had a meaning "wandering," but this is attested only from 16c.); or else it should be associated with gad (n.) "a goad for driving cattle." Related: Gadding.

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"goad, metal rod," early 13c., from Old Norse gaddr "spike, nail," from Proto-Germanic *gadaz "pointed stick" (see yard (n.2)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper