View synonyms for gasp


[ gasp, gahsp ]


  1. a sudden, short intake of breath, as in shock or surprise.
  2. a convulsive effort to breathe.
  3. a short, convulsive utterance:

    the words came out in gasps.

verb (used without object)

  1. to catch one's breath.

    Synonyms: blow, puff

  2. to struggle for breath with the mouth open; breathe convulsively.

    Synonyms: blow, puff

  3. to long with breathless eagerness; desire; crave (usually followed by for or after ).

verb (used with object)

  1. to utter with gasps (often followed by out, forth, away, etc.):

    She gasped out the words.

  2. to breathe or emit with gasps (often followed by away ).


/ ɡɑːsp /


  1. intr to draw in the breath sharply, convulsively, or with effort, esp in expressing awe, horror, etc
  2. intr; foll by after or for to crave
  3. troften foll byout to utter or emit breathlessly


  1. a short convulsive intake of breath
  2. a short convulsive burst of speech
  3. at the last gasp
    at the last gasp
    1. at the point of death
    2. at the last moment

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Derived Forms

  • ˈgaspingly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • gasping·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of gasp1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English gaspen, probably Old English *gāspen, equivalent to Old Norse geispa; akin to gape

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Word History and Origins

Origin of gasp1

C14: from Old Norse geispa to yawn; related to Swedish dialect gispa, Danish gispe

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. last gasp, the point of death; dying:

    At his last gasp he confessed to the murder.

More idioms and phrases containing gasp

see last gasp .

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Synonym Study

See pant 1.

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Example Sentences

Enjoying the rest of a remote summerThe prospect of returning to cubicle life means employees are seizing their last gasps of life outside the office.

From Digiday

In the hours to months after the impact, we share this behemoth’s last steps, its final gasps.

We haven’t been really given any sense of reality, and so that nostalgia becomes a reason to do these things… They see this as like the last gasp of a troll.

From Time

We’re nearing the frustratingly slow, but sure, dying gasp of Covid-19.

Everything was silent except for the rhythmic friction of skis on snow and our gasps of exhaustion.

And in a big departure from established royal protocol, Prince George might even get a—gasp—present to open on Christmas Day.

The virgin birth is mentioned in the...what...gasp...Koran?!

There was a collective gasp at both the four-letter word and the bitter sentiment it carried.

I am lucky on Secret Six to have an editor, Mark Doyle, who agrees, we want people to gasp out loud.

To be clear, I was not treading anywhere near the even more incomprehensible realm of (gasp) relationship definition.

With a suffocating gasp, she fell back into the chair on which she sat, and covered her face with her hands.

She gave a sudden gasp, and then she appeared to be deeply interested in the gold fish in the fountain.

With a gasp of dismay young Richard twisted in his chair to confront this fresh and unsuspected antagonist.

With a gasp she felt herself falling straight down through a swirling vortex of sensation, to the very sand-bed of the stream.

Jimmy says the way his bloodhound had worked it all out made even Jones minimus gasp.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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