[ geyt ]
/ geɪt /
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a manner of walking, stepping, or running.
any of the manners in which a horse moves, as a walk, trot, canter, gallop, or rack.
verb (used with object)
to teach a specified gait or gaits to (a horse).
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Origin of gait

1500–10; Scots, Middle English spelling variant of gate1 in various senses


gait , gate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does gait mean?

Gait means the way a person or animal walks or runs.

Gait is often used in the context of horses and show dogs when analyzing how they walk, trot, and run. The human gait is studied in medicine and in sports like running. Gait can also be used as a verb meaning to teach a horse a particular gait.

Example: You can tell that his gait is affected by a limp.

Where does gait come from?

The first records of gait in English come from the early 1500s. It comes from Scots, which is English as spoken in Scotland. Gait is a spelling variant of gate, which in Scotland can be used to mean “a path” or “a way of behaving.”

Horses don’t just walk and run. They trot, canter, gallop, and move in a way called a rack (which means they move the legs on one side of their body and then the other). Each of these is a different gait. At dog shows, dogs are judged on their gait, which depending on the breed is often a kind of regal prancing.

You have a gait, and it’s different from everyone else’s. In fact, the field of biometrics is developing ways to measure a person’s gait as a unique identifier, like a fingerprint. In medicine, an unsteady or wide gait can be a marker of a neurological condition. Patients who’ve had a procedure like a hip replacement may need therapy to return their gait to normal. Competitive runners often work to make sure they don’t use an improper gait, which can lead to painful conditions.

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What are some synonyms for gait?

What are some words that share a root or word element with gait



What are some words that often get used in discussing gait?


What are some words gait may be commonly confused with?

How is gait used in real life?

Gait is commonly used in the analysis of how horses and dogs walk and run. Humans’ gait is important to the sport of running as well as in some medical contexts.



Try using gait!

Is gait used correctly in the following sentence? 

Make sure you don’t have too wide of a gait when running—you may hurt your knee.

How to use gait in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gait

/ (ɡeɪt) /

manner of walking or running; bearing
(used esp of horses and dogs) the pattern of footsteps at various speeds, as the walk, trot, canter, etc, each pattern being distinguished by a particular rhythm and footfall
(tr) to teach (a horse) a particular gait

Word Origin for gait

C16: variant of gate 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

Medical definitions for gait

[ gāt ]

A particular way or manner of walking.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.