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  1. a break or opening, as in a fence, wall, or military line; breach: We found a gap in the enemy's line of fortifications.
  2. an empty space or interval; interruption in continuity; hiatus: a momentary gap in a siren's wailing; a gap in his memory.
  3. a wide divergence or difference; disparity: the gap between expenses and income; the gap between ideals and actions.
  4. a difference or disparity in attitudes, perceptions, character, or development, or a lack of confidence or understanding, perceived as creating a problem: the technology gap; a communications gap.
  5. a deep, sloping ravine or cleft through a mountain ridge.
  6. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. a mountain pass: the Cumberland Gap.
  7. Aeronautics. the distance between one supporting surface of an airplane and another above or below it.
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verb (used with object), gapped, gap·ping.
  1. to make a gap, opening, or breach in.
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verb (used without object), gapped, gap·ping.
  1. to come open or apart; form or show a gap.
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Origin of gap

1350–1400; Middle English < Old Norse gap chasm
Related formsgap·less, adjective


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  1. a department in SE France. 2179 sq. mi. (5645 sq. km). Capital: Gap.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gap


  1. a break or opening in a wall, fence, etc
  2. a break in continuity; interruption; hiatusthere is a serious gap in the accounts
  3. a break in a line of hills or mountains affording a route through
  4. mainly US a gorge or ravine
  5. a divergence or difference; disparitythere is a gap between his version of the event and hers; the generation gap
  6. electronics
    1. a break in a magnetic circuit that increases the inductance and saturation point of the circuit
    2. See spark gap
  7. bridge a gap, close a gap, fill a gap or stop a gap to remedy a deficiency
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verb gaps, gapping or gapped
  1. (tr) to make a breach or opening in
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Derived Formsgapless, adjectivegappy, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old Norse gap chasm; related to gapa to gape, Swedish gap, Danish gab open mouth, opening


  1. a department of SE France in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Capital: Gap. Pop: 126 810 (2003 est). Area: 5643 sq km (2201 sq miles)
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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 gap


early 14c. (mid-13c. in place names), from Old Norse gap "chasm," related to gapa "to gape," from PIE *ghai- "to yawn, gape" (see yawn (v.)). Originally "hole in a wall or hedge;" broader sense is 16c. In U.S., common in place names in reference to a break or pass in a long mountain chain (especially one that water flows through). As a verb from 1847.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gap in Medicine


  1. An opening in a structure or surface; a cleft or breach.
  2. An interval or discontinuity in any series or sequence.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.