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 gawking

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

Examples from the Web for gawking

Contemporary Examples of gawking

Historical Examples of gawking

  • Gawking and gaping as though 'twere Christmas and Roman candles going off!

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • For fifteen years I have been the 'objective' of the gawking squad.

    David Lannarck, Midget

    George S. Harney

  • He had gone about gawking in places he couldn't have had he been visible.

    The Common Man

    Guy McCord (AKA Dallas McCord Reynolds)

  • Here, you people, don't stand there gawking like a lot of dotty chumps!

    Corporal Cameron

    Ralph Connor

  • "'Tend to your business, there; don't be gawking around," said the Orderly sternly.

British Dictionary definitions for gawking



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 gawking



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