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See more synonyms for gate on Thesaurus.com
  1. a movable barrier, usually on hinges, closing an opening in a fence, wall, or other enclosure.
  2. an opening permitting passage through an enclosure.
  3. a tower, architectural setting, etc., for defending or adorning such an opening or for providing a monumental entrance to a street, park, etc.: the gates of the walled city; the palace gate.
  4. any means of access or entrance: The gate to stardom is talent.
  5. a mountain pass.
  6. any movable barrier, as at a tollbooth or a road or railroad crossing.
  7. a gateway or passageway in a passenger terminal or pier that leads to a place for boarding a train, plane, or ship.
  8. a sliding barrier for regulating the passage of water, steam, or the like, as in a dam or pipe; valve.
  9. Skiing.
    1. an obstacle in a slalom race, consisting of two upright poles anchored in the snow a certain distance apart.
    2. the opening between these poles, through which a competitor in a slalom race must ski.
  10. the total number of persons who pay for admission to an athletic contest, a performance, an exhibition, etc.
  11. the total receipts from such admissions.
  12. Cell Biology. a temporary channel in a cell membrane through which substances diffuse into or out of a cell.
  13. Movies. film gate.
  14. a sash or frame for a saw or gang of saws.
  15. Metallurgy.
    1. Also called ingate.a channel or opening in a mold through which molten metal is poured into the mold cavity.
    2. the waste metal left in such a channel after hardening.
  16. Electronics.
    1. a signal that makes an electronic circuit operative or inoperative either for a certain time interval or until another signal is received.
    2. Also called logic gate.a circuit with one output that is activated only by certain combinations of two or more inputs.
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verb (used with object), gat·ed, gat·ing.
  1. (at British universities) to punish by confining to the college grounds.
  2. Electronics.
    1. to control the operation of (an electronic device) by means of a gate.
    2. to select the parts of (a wave signal) that are within a certain range of amplitude or within certain time intervals.
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verb (used without object), gat·ed, gat·ing.
  1. Metallurgy. to make or use a gate.
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  1. get the gate, Slang. to be dismissed, sent away, or rejected.
  2. give (someone) the gate, Slang.
    1. to reject (a person), as one's fiancé, lover, or friend.
    2. to dismiss from one's employ: They gave him the gate because he was caught stealing.
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Origin of gate1

before 900; Middle English gat, gate, Old English geat (plural gatu); cognate with Low German, Dutch gat hole, breach; cf. gate2
Can be confusedgait gate


  1. Archaic. a path; way.
  2. North England and Scot.. habitual manner or way of acting.
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Origin of gate2

1150–1200; Middle English < Old Norse gata path; perhaps akin to Old English geat gate1; cf. gat3


  1. a combining form extracted from Watergate, occurring as the final element in journalistic coinages, usually nonce words, that name scandals resulting from concealed crime or other alleged improprieties in government or business: Koreagate.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for gate

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Over the gate was written in large letters, 'The Entrance of Mortals.'


    Lydia Maria Child

  • They arrived at the gate without question or hindrance; but found it fastened.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Only Ambrose was, at parting for the night, obliged to ask him for the key of the gate.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • And the clipped privet bush by the trellis and the may tree by the gate.

  • Next day he called at the gate, on horseback, to inquire for mistress.

    To be Read at Dusk

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for gate


  1. a movable barrier, usually hinged, for closing an opening in a wall, fence, etc
  2. an opening to allow passage into or out of an enclosed place
  3. any means of entrance or access
  4. a mountain pass or gap, esp one providing entry into another country or region
    1. the number of people admitted to a sporting event or entertainment
    2. the total entrance money received from them
  5. (in a large airport) any of the numbered exits leading to the airfield or aircraftpassengers for Paris should proceed to gate 14
  6. horse racing short for starting gate
  7. electronics
    1. a logic circuit having one or more input terminals and one output terminal, the output being switched between two voltage levels determined by the combination of input signals
    2. a circuit used in radar that allows only a fraction of the input signal to pass
  8. the electrode region or regions in a field-effect transistor that is biased to control the conductivity of the channel between the source and drain
  9. a component in a motion-picture camera or projector that holds each frame flat and momentarily stationary behind the lens
  10. a slotted metal frame that controls the positions of the gear lever in a motor vehicle
  11. rowing a hinged clasp to prevent the oar from jumping out of a rowlock
  12. a frame surrounding the blade or blades of a saw
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verb (tr)
  1. to provide with a gate or gates
  2. British to restrict (a student) to the school or college grounds as a punishment
  3. to select (part of a waveform) in terms of amplitude or time
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Derived Formsgateless, adjectivegatelike, adjective

Word Origin

Old English geat; related to Old Frisian jet opening, Old Norse gat opening, passage


noun dialect
  1. the channels by which molten metal is poured into a mould
  2. the metal that solidifies in such channels
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Word Origin

C17: probably related to Old English gyte a pouring out, geotan to pour


noun Scot and Northern English dialect
  1. a way, road, street, or path
  2. a way or method of doing something
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Word Origin

C13: from Old Norse gata path; related to Old High German gazza road, street


n combining form
  1. indicating a person or thing that has been the cause of, or is associated with, a public scandalIrangate; Camillagate
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Word Origin

C20: on the analogy of Watergate
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 gate


"opening, entrance," Old English geat (plural geatu) "gate, door, opening, passage, hinged framework barrier," from Proto-Germanic *gatan (cf. Old Norse gat "opening, passage," Old Saxon gat "eye of a needle, hole," Old Frisian gat "hole, opening," Dutch gat "gap, hole, breach," German Gasse "street"), of unknown origin. Meaning "money collected from selling tickets" dates from 1896 (short for gate money, 1820). Gate-crasher is from 1927. Finnish katu, Lettish gatua "street" are Germanic loan-words.

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"provide with a gate," 1906, from gate (n.). Originally of moulds. Related: Gated (1620s). Gated community recorded by 1989 (earliest reference to Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach, Calif.

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suffix attached to any word to indicate "scandal involving," 1973, abstracted from Watergate, the Washington, D.C., building complex, home of the National Headquarters of the Democratic Party when it was burglarized June 17, 1972, by operatives later found to be working for the staff and re-election campaign of U.S. President Richard Nixon.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with gate


see crash the gate; give someone the air (gate).

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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.