verb (used with object)

to make sore by rubbing; chafe severely: The saddle galled the horse's back.
to vex or irritate greatly: His arrogant manner galls me.

verb (used without object)


Origin of gall

before 1000; Middle English galle (noun), gallen (v.) perhaps < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German gall, akin to Old English gealla sore on a horse
Related formsun·galled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for galled

Contemporary Examples of galled

Historical Examples of galled

  • It galled him to take the woman's wages, but it vexed him yet more to do her work.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • It galled me when I thought how sportsman-like I had been to attract their attention.

  • He had to live on her money, which galled him, and to be assisted by the Dean's money, which was wormwood to him.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

  • I thought that he was galled to feel that he had been beaten by a novice.


    David Christie Murray

  • It grieves me much that when I came to soothe I have only galled thee.


    Benjamin Disraeli

British Dictionary definitions for galled




informal impudence
bitterness; rancour
something bitter or disagreeable
physiol an obsolete term for bile 1
an obsolete term for gall bladder

Word Origin for gall

from Old Norse, replacing Old English gealla; related to Old High German galla, Greek kholē




a sore on the skin caused by chafing
something that causes vexation or annoyancea gall to the spirits
irritation; exasperation


pathol to abrade (the skin, etc) as by rubbing
(tr) to irritate or annoy; vex

Word Origin for gall

C14: of Germanic origin; related to Old English gealla sore on a horse, and perhaps to gall 1




an abnormal outgrowth in plant tissue caused by certain parasitic insects, fungi, bacteria, or mechanical injury

Word Origin for gall

C14: from Old French galle, from Latin galla
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 galled



"bile," Old English galla (Anglian), gealla (W. Saxon) "gall, bile," from Proto-Germanic *gallon- (cf. Old Norse gall, Old Saxon, Old High German galla, German Galle), from PIE root *ghel- "gold, yellow, yellowish-green" (see Chloe). Informal sense of "impudence, boldness" first recorded American English 1882; but meaning "embittered spirit, rancor" is from c.1200, from the medieval theory of humors. Gall bladder recorded from 1670s.



"sore spot on a horse," Old English gealla "painful swelling," from Latin galla "gall, lump on plant," originally "oak apple," of uncertain origin. Perhaps from or influenced by gall (1) on notion of "poison-sore." German galle, Dutch gal also are from Latin.



"to make sore by chafing," mid-15c., from gall (n.2). Earlier "to have sores, be sore" (early 14c.). Figurative sense of "harass, irritate" is from 1570s. Related: Galled; galling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

galled in Science



An abnormal swelling of plant tissue, caused by injury or by parasitic organisms such as insects, mites, nematodes, and bacteria. Parasites stimulate the production of galls by secreting chemical irritants on or in the plant tissue. Galls stimulated by egg-laying parasites typically provide a protective environment in which the eggs can hatch and the pupae develop, and they usually do only minor damage to the host plant. Gall-stimulating fungi and microorganisms, such as the bacterium that causes crown gall, are generally considered to be plant diseases.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.