verb (used without object)

to stare stupidly; gape: The onlookers gawked at arriving celebrities.


an awkward, foolish person.

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

Synonyms for gawk Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for gawk

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

Examples from the Web for gawk

Contemporary Examples of gawk

Historical Examples of gawk

  • 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



a clumsy stupid person; lout


(intr) to stare in a stupid way; gape

Word Origin for gawk

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper