[ geyj ]
See synonyms for: gaugegaugedgaugesgauging on

verb (used with object),gauged, gaug·ing.
  1. to determine the exact dimensions, capacity, quantity, or force of; measure.

  2. to appraise, estimate, or judge.

  1. to make conformable to a standard.

  2. to mark or measure off; delineate.

  3. to gradually stretch (a pierced body part, such as the earlobe) by wearing increasingly large objects in the opening: I started gauging my ears recently and am having them stretched every two weeks.

  4. to prepare or mix (plaster) with a definite proportion of plaster of Paris and mortar.

  5. to chip or rub (bricks or stones) to a uniform size or shape.

  1. a standard of measure or measurement.

  2. a standard dimension, size, or quantity.

  1. any device or instrument for measuring, registering measurements, or testing something, especially for measuring a dimension, quantity, or mechanical accuracy: pressure gauge;marking gauge.

  2. a means of estimating or judging; criterion; test.

  3. extent; scope; capacity: trying to determine the gauge of his own strength.

    • a plug, stud, or other piece of jewelry worn in a pierced body part in order to stretch it: He had a silver and black gauge in his ear, centered in the elongated lobe.

    • a standard size of such a piercing or piece of jewelry, in a system in which a lower number indicates a larger diameter (often used in combination): I recently went from a 10-gauge to an 8-gauge tongue piercing.Once you reach a certain gauge, your holes probably won’t shrink down to their original size.

  4. Ordnance. a unit of measure of the internal diameter of a shotgun barrel, determined by the number of spherical lead bullets of a diameter equal to that of the bore that are required to make one pound: a twelve-gauge shotgun.

  5. Railroads. the distance between the inner edges of the heads of the rails in a track, usually 4 feet 8.5 inches (1.4 meters) (standard gauge ), but sometimes more (broad gauge ) and sometimes less (narrow gauge ).

  6. the distance between a pair of wheels on an axle.

  7. the thickness or diameter of various, usually thin, objects, as the thickness of sheet metal or the diameter of a wire or screw.

  8. the fineness of a knitted fabric as expressed in loops per every 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters): 15 denier, 60 gauge stockings.

  9. Nautical. the position of one vessel as being to the windward (weather gauge ) or to the leeward (lee gauge ) of another vessel on an approximately parallel course.

  10. Building Trades. the portion of the length of a slate, tile, etc., left exposed when laid in place.

  11. the amount of plaster of Paris mixed with mortar or common plaster to hasten the set.

Origin of gauge

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Old North French (French jauge ), from Germanic
  • Also especially in technical use, gage .

word story For gauge

The noun gauge (also gage ) appears in Middle English in 1332 in the compound noun gaugeman “official measurer.” A century later, in 1440, the verb gaugen (also gagen ) appears, meaning “to measure (depth, length), measure out (a quantity), make an official measurement of (a container or its contents).” The administrative state has always been in control! The figurative sense “to take the measure of a person or thing; appraise, judge” first appears in 1583.
Middle English gauge (noun and verb) comes from Old French gauger (verb) “to measure” and gauge (noun) “the action or result of measuring” (in modern French jauger and jauge for the verb and noun, respectively). Further etymology is speculative and unsatisfactory; some authorities suggest a Germanic noun galgōn- “branch, rod,” which becomes gealga in Old English (Modern English gallows ).
In Middle English the spellings gage- and gauge- occur indiscriminately, and some reputable modern authorities recommend the spelling gage, which is the spelling often used in technical contexts. A very common misspelling is guage.

Other words for gauge

Other words from gauge

  • gauge·a·ble, adjective
  • gauge·a·bly, adverb
  • mis·gauge, verb (used with object), mis·gauged, mis·gaug·ing.
  • mul·ti·gauge, adjective
  • re·gauge, verb (used with object), re·gauged, re·gaug·ing.
  • un·gauged, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use gauge in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gauge



/ (ɡeɪdʒ) /

  1. to measure or determine the amount, quantity, size, condition, etc, of

  2. to estimate or appraise; judge

  1. to check for conformity or bring into conformity with a standard measurement, dimension, etc

  1. a standard measurement, dimension, capacity, or quantity

  2. any of various instruments for measuring a quantity: a pressure gauge

  1. any of various devices used to check for conformity with a standard measurement

  2. a standard or means for assessing; test; criterion

  3. scope, capacity, or extent

  4. the diameter of the barrel of a gun, esp a shotgun

  5. the thickness of sheet metal or the diameter of wire

  6. the distance between the rails of a railway track: in Britain 4 ft 8 1/2 in. (1.435 m)

  7. the distance between two wheels on the same axle of a vehicle, truck, etc

  8. nautical the position of a vessel in relation to the wind and another vessel. One vessel may be windward (weather gauge) or leeward (lee gauge) of the other

  9. the proportion of plaster of Paris added to mortar to accelerate its setting

  10. the distance between the nails securing the slates, tiles, etc, of a roof

  11. a measure of the fineness of woven or knitted fabric, usually expressed as the number of needles used per inch

  12. the width of motion-picture film or magnetic tape

  1. (of a pressure measurement) measured on a pressure gauge that registers zero at atmospheric pressure; above or below atmospheric pressure: 5 bar gauge See also absolute (def. 10)

Origin of gauge

C15: from Old Northern French, probably of Germanic origin

Derived forms of gauge

  • gaugeable or gageable, adjective
  • gaugeably or gageably, adverb

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