[ gang ]
See synonyms for gang on
  1. a group or band: A gang of boys gathered around the winning pitcher.

  2. a group of youngsters or adolescents who associate closely, often exclusively, for social reasons, especially such a group engaging in delinquent behavior.

  1. a group of people with compatible tastes or mutual interests who gather together for social reasons: I'm throwing a party for the gang I bowl with.

  2. a group of persons working together; squad; shift: a gang of laborers.

  3. a group of persons associated for some criminal or other antisocial purpose: a gang of thieves.

  4. a set of tools, electronic components or circuits, oars, etc., arranged to work together or simultaneously.

  5. a group of identical or related items.

verb (used with object)
  1. to arrange in groups or sets; form into a gang: to gang illustrations for more economical printing on one sheet.

  2. to attack in a gang.

verb (used without object)
  1. to form or act as a gang: Cutthroats who gang together hang together.

Verb Phrases
  1. gang up on, Informal. (of a number of persons) to unite in opposition to (a person); combine against: The bigger boys ganged up on the smaller ones in the schoolyard.

Origin of gang

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English gang, gong, Old English gang, gong “manner of going, way, passage”; cognate with Old High German gang, Old Norse gangr, Gothic gagg; cf. gang2

Other words for gang

Other definitions for gang (2 of 2)

[ gang ]

verb (used without object)Chiefly Scot. and North England.
  1. to walk or go.

Origin of gang

First recorded before 900; Middle English gangen, Old English gangan, gongan; cognate with Old High German gangan, Old Norse ganga, Gothic gaggan; cf. gang1 (noun derivative from same root) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use gang in a sentence

  • Fresh gangs manned the sweeps and the riders on the eastern bank eased their pace to a walk.

    The Red Year | Louis Tracy
  • Now and then I passed gangs of workmen making ditches and trenches, repairing railroad tracks and laying new ones.

    Ways of War and Peace | Delia Austrian
  • With the coming of the clearing gangs, Will joined his two brothers at the work, leaving only fourteen-year-old Babe at school.

    Mountain | Clement Wood
  • The spoke is made in two pieces, at two different forges, and by two distinct gangs of men.

    The Hills and the Vale | Richard Jefferies
  • It was a hanging matter; but here at Bubastis their dams and banks were raised by working gangs of such criminals.

    Sarchedon | G. J. (George John) Whyte-Melville

British Dictionary definitions for gang (1 of 3)


/ (ɡæŋ) /

  1. a group of people who associate together or act as an organized body, esp for criminal or illegal purposes

  2. an organized group of workmen

  1. a herd of buffaloes or elks or a pack of wild dogs

  2. NZ a group of shearers who travel to different shearing sheds, shearing, classing, and baling wool

    • a series of similar tools arranged to work simultaneously in parallel

    • (as modifier): a gang saw

  1. to form into, become part of, or act as a gang

  2. (tr) electronics to mount (two or more components, such as variable capacitors) on the same shaft, permitting adjustment by a single control

Origin of gang

Old English gang journey; related to Old Norse gangr, Old High German gang, Sanskrit jangha foot

Derived forms of gang

  • ganged, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for gang (2 of 3)


/ (ɡæŋ) /

  1. Scot to go

Origin of gang

Old English gangan to go 1

British Dictionary definitions for gang (3 of 3)


/ (ɡæŋ) /

  1. a variant spelling of gangue

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with gang


In addition to the idiom beginning with gang

  • gang up

also see:

  • like gangbusters

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.