step on the gas, Informal. to increase the speed of one's movement or activity; hurry: We'd better step on the gas or we'll be late for the concert.

Origin of gas

1650–60; coined by J. B. van Helmont (1577–1644), Flemish chemist; suggested by Greek cháos atmosphere
Related formsgas·less, adjectivenon·gas, noun, plural non·gas·es.
Can be confusedfluid gas liquid (see synonym study at liquid) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for gas up

feed, inflame, incite, sustain, nourish, service, supply, fire, gas, charge, fan

British Dictionary definitions for gas up


noun plural gases or gasses

a substance in a physical state in which it does not resist change of shape and will expand indefinitely to fill any container. If very high pressure is applied a gas may become liquid or solid, otherwise its density tends towards that of the condensed phaseCompare liquid (def. 1), solid (def. 1)
any substance that is gaseous at room temperature and atmospheric pressure
any gaseous substance that is above its critical temperature and therefore not liquefiable by pressure aloneCompare vapour (def. 2)
  1. a fossil fuel in the form of a gas, used as a source of domestic and industrial heatSee also coal gas, natural gas
  2. (as modifier)a gas cooker; gas fire
a gaseous anaesthetic, such as nitrous oxide
mining firedamp or the explosive mixture of firedamp and air
the usual US, Canadian, and New Zealand word for petrol See also gasoline
step on the gas informal
  1. to increase the speed of a motor vehicle; accelerate
  2. to hurry
a toxic or suffocating substance in suspension in air used against an enemy
informal idle talk or boasting
slang a delightful or successful person or thinghis latest record is a gas
US an informal name for flatus

verb gases, gasses, gassing or gassed

(tr) to provide or fill with gas
(tr) to subject to gas fumes, esp so as to asphyxiate or render unconscious
(intr) to give off gas, as in the charging of a battery
(tr) (in textiles) to singe (fabric) with a flame from a gas burner to remove unwanted fibres
(intr foll by to) informal to talk in an idle or boastful way (to a person)
(tr) slang, mainly US and Canadian to thrill or delight
Derived Formsgasless, adjective

Word Origin for gas

C17 (coined by J. B. van Helmont (1577–1644), Flemish chemist): modification of Greek khaos atmosphere
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 gas up



1650s, from Dutch gas, probably from Greek khaos "empty space" (see chaos). The sound of Dutch "g" is roughly equivalent to that of Greek "kh." First used by Flemish chemist J.B. van Helmont (1577-1644), probably influenced by Paracelsus, who used khaos in an occult sense of "proper elements of spirits" or "ultra-rarified water," which was van Helmont's definition of gas.

Modern scientific sense began 1779, with later specialization to "combustible mix of vapors" (1794, originally coal gas); "anesthetic" (1894, originally nitrous oxide); and "poison gas" (1900). Meaning "intestinal vapors" is from 1882. "The success of this artificial word is unique" [Weekley]. Slang sense of "empty talk" is from 1847; slang meaning "something exciting or excellent" first attested 1953, from earlier hepster slang gasser in the same sense (1944). Gas also meant "fun, a joke" in Anglo-Irish and was used so by Joyce (1914). As short for gasoline, it is American English, first recorded 1905.



1886, "to supply with gas," from gas (n.). Sense of "poison with gas" is from 1889 as an accidental thing, from 1915 as a military attack. Related: Gassed; gassing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gas up in Medicine



n. pl. gas•es

The state of matter distinguished from the solid and liquid states by relatively low density and viscosity, relatively great expansion and contraction with changes in pressure and temperature, the ability to diffuse readily, and the spontaneous tendency to become distributed uniformly throughout any container.
A substance in the gaseous state.
A gaseous fuel, such as natural gas.
A gaseous asphyxiant, an irritant, or a poison.
A gaseous anesthetic, such as nitrous oxide.


To treat chemically with gas.
To overcome, disable, or kill with poisonous fumes.
To give off gas.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

gas up in Science



One of four main states of matter, composed of molecules in constant random motion. Unlike a solid, a gas has no fixed shape and will take on the shape of the space available. Unlike a liquid, the intermolecular forces are very small; it has no fixed volume and will expand to fill the space available.
Related formsgaseous adjective (găsē-əs, găshəs)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

gas up in Culture


In physics, one of the phases of matter. The atoms or molecules in gases are more widely spaced than in solids or liquids and suffer only occasional collisions with one another.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with gas up

gas up

Supply a vehicle with gasoline, as in I want to be sure to gas up before we go. James M. Cain used this term in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934): “I went to gas up a car.” [Colloquial; c. 1930 Also see tank up.


In addition to the idiom beginning with gas

  • gas up

also see:

  • cook with gas
  • run out of steam (gas)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.