[geyp, gap]

verb (used without object), gaped, gap·ing.


Origin of gape

1175–1225; Middle English < Old Norse gapa to open the mouth wide; compare German gaffen
Related formsgap·ing·ly, adverbsub·gape, verb (used without object), sub·gaped, sub·gap·ing.un·gap·ing, adjective

Synonyms for gape

1. See gaze. 2, 3. yawn. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gape

Contemporary Examples of gape

Historical Examples of gape

  • But I could not speak; I could only gape, choking and giddy.

  • The gape of his enormous jaws was nearly as wide as the gateway of the king's palace.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • The Duke sank back in his chair to gape at his impetuous cousin.


    Raphael Sabatini

  • At that instant the whole of the heavens seemed to split and gape open.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • They gape round him while he twangs and screeches, the wind-bag!


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

British Dictionary definitions for gape


verb (intr)

to stare in wonder or amazement, esp with the mouth open
to open the mouth wide, esp involuntarily, as in yawning or hunger
to be or become wide openthe crater gaped under his feet


the act of gaping
a wide opening; breach
the width of the widely opened mouth of a vertebrate
a stare or expression of astonishment
See also gapes

Word Origin for gape

C13: from Old Norse gapa; related to Middle Dutch gapen, Danish gabe
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 gape

early 13c., from an unrecorded Old English word or else from Old Norse gapa "to open the mouth, gape," common West Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch, Dutch gapen, German gaffen "to gape, stare," Swedish gapa, Danish gabe), from PIE *ghai- (see gap). Related: Gaped; gaping. As a noun, from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper