[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 gaping

Contemporary Examples of gaping

Historical Examples of gaping

  • The nose was but a gaping orifice above a deformed and twisted mouth.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • And indeed you may believe he left a gaping audience behind him.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • That galling thought made the blood gush from his gaping wound.

  • Because this jail was gaping for me, and he stood beckoning at the door.'

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • They stood about, gaping at each other, unable to realise what had happened to them.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

British Dictionary definitions for gaping



wide open; extremely widea gaping hole
Derived Formsgapingly, adverb


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 gaping

1570s (implied in gapingly), present participle adj. from gape (v.).



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