verb (used with object), gouged, goug·ing.

verb (used without object), gouged, goug·ing.

to engage in swindling, overcharging, or the like: I bought my clothes there before they began gouging.

Origin of gouge

1300–50; Middle English < French < Late Latin gu(l)bia; compare Old Provençal goja, Spanish gubia; perhaps < Celtic; compare Old Irish gulba sting, Welsh gylf beak, Cornish gilb borer
Related formsgoug·er, nounun·gouged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gouging

Contemporary Examples of gouging

  • News that the securities firm where he worked after his FBI gig was “sanctioned repeatedly by regulators for gouging customers.”

  • Unconstrained by market pressures, private schools have been gouging their customers at a similar pace.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Tuition Gouge

    David Frum

    January 30, 2012

  • Then, in an account that is bone-chilling, she says her husband pressed his fingers into her eyes, gouging them out.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Mauled by Her Husband?

    Asra Q. Nomani

    July 16, 2011

Historical Examples of gouging

  • They've a notion it's all gouging and luck, and you couldn't beat that out of them if you tried.

    The Lovely Lady

    Mary Austin

  • The gouging and snipping, so irritating to a person of nerves, is thus avoided.

    The Woman Beautiful

    Helen Follett Stevans

  • I suppose he blunted them gouging nuggets out of the gold fields.

  • Biting, kicking, gouging, all were the same to this silent and powerful antagonist.

  • Johnson's left hand was gouging at my face, his fingers digging at my eyes.

British Dictionary definitions for gouging


verb (mainly tr)

(usually foll by out) to scoop or force (something) out of its position, esp with the fingers or a pointed instrument
(sometimes foll by out) to cut (a hole or groove) in (something) with a sharp instrument or tool
US and Canadian informal to extort from
(also intr) Australian to dig for (opal)


a type of chisel with a blade that has a concavo-convex section
a mark or groove made with, or as if with, a gouge
geology a fine deposit of rock fragments, esp clay, occurring between the walls of a fault or mineral vein
US and Canadian informal extortion; swindling

Word Origin for gouge

C15: from French, from Late Latin gulbia a chisel, of Celtic origin
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 gouging



1560s, "to cut with a gouge," from gouge (n.). Meaning "to force out with a gouge" (especially of the eyes, in fighting) attested by 1800. Meaning "swindle" is American English colloquial from 1826 (implied in plural noun gougers). Related: Gouged; gouging.



mid-14c., "chisel with a concave blade," from Old French gouge, from Late Latin gubia, alteration of gulbia "hollow beveled chisel," probably from Gaulish (cf. Old Irish gulban "prick, prickle," Welsh gylfin "beak").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for gouging




A strong curved chisel used in bone surgery.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.