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gasp

[gasp, gahsp]
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noun
  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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to catch one's breath.
  2. to struggle for breath with the mouth open; breathe convulsively.
  3. to long with breathless eagerness; desire; crave (usually followed by for or after).
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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).
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Idioms
  1. last gasp, the point of death; dying: At his last gasp he confessed to the murder.
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Origin of gasp

1350–1400; Middle English gaspen, probably Old English *gāspen, equivalent to Old Norse geispa; akin to gape
Related formsgasp·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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4, 5. puff, blow. See pant1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gasp

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • When she had finished, something like a gasp went through the room.

  • I could only just gasp along the way you do in a dream when there's a ghost gaining on you.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Her gasp of astonishment was lost in the chorus of congratulatory cries.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Then he disappeared with a suddenness that made the colonel and Dick gasp.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • Then a reporter leaped aboard, and ere I could gasp held me in his toils.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling


British Dictionary definitions for gasp

gasp

verb
  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. (tr often foll by out) to utter or emit breathlessly
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noun
  1. a short convulsive intake of breath
  2. a short convulsive burst of speech
  3. at the last gasp
    1. at the point of death
    2. at the last moment
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Derived Formsgaspingly, adverb

Word Origin

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

v.

late 14c., gaspen, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse geispa "to yawn," or its Danish derivative gispe "gasp," which probably are related to Old Norse gapa (see gape). Related: Gasped; gasping.

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n.

1570s, from gasp (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with gasp

gasp

see last gasp.

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