[ gag ]
See synonyms for: gaggaggedgagging on

verb (used with object),gagged, gag·ging.
  1. to stop up the mouth of (a person) by putting something in it, thus preventing speech, shouts, etc.

  2. to restrain by force or authority from freedom of speech; silence.

  1. to fasten open the jaws of, as in surgical operations.

  2. to cause to retch or choke.

  3. Metalworking. to straighten or bend (a bar, rail, etc.) with a gag.

verb (used without object),gagged, gag·ging.
  1. to retch or choke.

  1. something put into a person's mouth to prevent speech, shouting, etc.

  2. any forced or arbitrary suppression of freedom of speech.

  1. a surgical instrument for holding the jaws open.

  2. Metalworking. a shaped block of steel used with a press to straighten or bend a bar, rail, etc.

Origin of gag

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English gaggen “to strangle, suffocate”; perhaps imitative of the sound made in choking; compare Old Norse adjective gag-háls “with the neck thrown back”

Other words for gag

Other definitions for gag (2 of 3)

[ gag ]

  1. a joke, especially one introduced into a script or an actor's part.

  2. any contrived piece of wordplay or horseplay.

verb (used without object),gagged, gag·ging.
  1. to tell jokes or make amusing remarks.

  2. to introduce gags in acting.

  1. to play on another's credulity, as by telling false stories.

verb (used with object),gagged, gag·ging.
  1. to introduce usually comic interpolations into (a script, an actor's part, or the like) (usually followed by up).

Origin of gag

First recorded in 1770–80; perhaps special use of gag1

Other definitions for gag (3 of 3)

[ gag ]

noun,plural (especially collectively) gag, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) gags.
  1. a serranid game fish, Mycteroperca microlepsis, found along the southeastern coast of the United States.

  2. any of several related fishes.

Origin of gag

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use gag in a sentence

  • Jacques Cambremer evaded justice only by reason of the fact that his father gagged him and cast him into the sea.

    Repertory Of The Comedie Humaine, Complete, A -- Z | Anatole Cerfberr and Jules Franois Christophe
  • Then he made the boy unlock the cell door and Jim slipped out, gagged the kid, and walked out of the jail.

    Mystery Ranch | Arthur Chapman
  • He was tied up and gagged quietly; and then came the exciting moment, when the key was first tried in the door.

    The Cradle of Mankind | W.A. Wigram
  • He was chained down to the floor by Mr. —— order, and had been gagged.

  • After which he was bound and gagged and summarily left to lie by the roadside.

    The Bronze Eagle | Emmuska Orczy, Baroness Orczy

British Dictionary definitions for gag (1 of 2)


/ (ɡæɡ) /

verbgags, gagging or gagged
  1. (tr) to stop up (a person's mouth), esp with a piece of cloth, etc, to prevent him or her from speaking or crying out

  2. (tr) to suppress or censor (free expression, information, etc)

  1. to retch or cause to retch

  2. (intr) to struggle for breath; choke

  3. (tr) to hold (the jaws) of (a person or animal) apart with a surgical gag

  4. (tr) to apply a gag-bit to (a horse)

  5. be gagging for or be gagging to slang to be very eager to have or do something

  1. a piece of cloth, rope, etc, stuffed into or tied across the mouth

  2. any restraint on or suppression of information, free speech, etc

  1. a surgical device for keeping the jaws apart, as during a tonsillectomy

  2. parliamentary procedure another word for closure (def. 4)

Origin of gag

C15 gaggen; perhaps imitative of a gasping sound

British Dictionary definitions for gag (2 of 2)


/ (ɡæɡ) informal /

  1. a joke or humorous story, esp one told by a professional comedian

  2. a hoax, practical joke, etc: he did it for a gag

verbgags, gagging or gagged
  1. (intr) to tell jokes or funny stories, as comedians in nightclubs, etc

  2. (often foll by up) theatre

    • to interpolate lines or business not in the actor's stage part, usually comic and improvised

    • to perform a stage jest, either spoken or based on movement

Origin of gag

C19: perhaps special use of gag 1

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