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

Examples from the Web for gawked

Contemporary Examples of gawked

Historical Examples of gawked

  • Well, isn't there some place we can go where we won't be gawked at by all these hoodlums?

    Tabitha's Vacation

    Ruth Alberta Brown

  • He just gawked at him from the deck, noting that the man had one hand on a sheath knife.

    The Syndic

    C.M. Kornbluth

  • I stood there with my chin two inches from the rug and gawked at him.

    Call Him Savage

    John Pollard

  • In any case she must often have been stung by the exasperation of those at whom she gawked.

    The Judge

    Rebecca West

  • He gawked, reddening; his right hand quivered; and to my chagrin he slowly laughed, scanning me.

    Desert Dust

    Edwin L. Sabin

British Dictionary definitions for gawked



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 gawked



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