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See more synonyms for gawk on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to stare stupidly; gape: The onlookers gawked at arriving celebrities.
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  1. an awkward, foolish person.
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Origin of gawk

1775–85; apparently representing OE word meaning fool, equivalent to ga(gol) foolish + -oc -ock; used attributively in gawk hand, gallock hand left hand


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

glare, gape, ogle, rubberneck, look, goggle, yawp, gaze, gloat, peer, bore, eyeball

Examples from the Web for gawk

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Bridget may have been a gawk, but she did two things which were not gawkish.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • And as for that maypole of a daughter, she's nothing but a gawk.

    The Making of a Soul

    Kathlyn Rhodes

  • In the library and parlor, he confesses he is as a gawk or one dumb.


    John Burroughs

  • It made me laugh to see the gawk skulking along in the rear.

    An Artist in Crime

    Rodrigues Ottolengui

  • "Lave it to me," said a rough voice, and Billy the Gawk stepped out.

    The Deemster

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for gawk


  1. a clumsy stupid person; lout
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  1. (intr) to stare in a stupid way; gape
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Word Origin

C18: from Old Danish gaukr; probably related to gape
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 gawk


1785, American English, perhaps from gaw, a survival from Middle English gowen "to stare" (c.1200), from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse ga "to heed," from Proto-Germanic *gawon-, from PIE *ghow-e- "to honor, revere, worship" (see favor (n.)); and altered perhaps by gawk hand (see gawky). Liberman writes that it "need not have been derived from gowk. It is possibly another independent imitative formation with the structure g-k. Related: Gawked; gawking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper