[guhj-uh n]


a small, European, freshwater fish, Gobio gobio, of the minnow family, having a threadlike barbel at each corner of the mouth, used as bait.
any of certain related fishes.
a person who is easily duped or cheated.
a bait or allurement.

verb (used with object)

to dupe or cheat.

Origin of gudgeon

1375–1425; late Middle English gogion < Old French go(u)jon < Latin gōbiōn- (stem of gōbiō), variant of gobius. See goby


[guhj-uh n]


Machinery. a trunnion.
a socket for the pintle of a hinge.
Nautical. a socket attached to the stern frame of a vessel, for holding the pintle of a rudder.

Origin of gudgeon

1350–1400; Middle English gudyon < Old French go(u)jon, perhaps ultimately < Late Latin gu(l)bia a chisel; see gouge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for gudgeon

lamb, fool, sap, sucker, fish, patsy, gull, victim, butt, chump, mark, pushover, pigeon

Examples from the Web for gudgeon

Historical Examples of gudgeon

  • I checked her from stem to gudgeon and you lay over her like a circus tent.

    The Galaxy Primes

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • They were disappointed in finding you no gudgeon to be hooked by such raw methods.

    Desert Dust

    Edwin L. Sabin

  • One more specimen of these baits for gudgeon, and we have done.

  • The teeth find the fat, the shark finds the gudgeon invariably.

    Nasby in Exile

    David R. Locke

  • "I am not ashamed to say that we were poor once," said Mr. Gudgeon, with a glow of pride.

    Round the Block

    John Bell Bouton

British Dictionary definitions for gudgeon




a small slender European freshwater cyprinid fish, Gobio gobio, with a barbel on each side of the mouth: used as bait by anglers
any of various other fishes, such as the goby
bait or enticement
slang a person who is easy to trick or cheat


(tr) slang to trick or cheat

Word Origin for gudgeon

C15: from Old French gougon, probably from Latin gōbius; see goby




  1. a pivot at the end of a beam or axle
  2. the female or socket portion of a pinned hinge
nautical one of two or more looplike sockets, fixed to the transom of a boat, into which the pintles of a rudder are fitted

Word Origin for gudgeon

C14: from Old French goujon, perhaps from Late Latin gulbia chisel
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 gudgeon

small freshwater fish, early 15c., from Middle French goujon, from Old French gojon (14c.), from Latin gobionem (nominative gobio), alteration of gobius, from Greek kobios, a kind of fish, of unknown origin. The figurative sense of "a credulous person" (one who will "bite" at "bait") is from 1580s.


"pivot on the end of a beam," c.1400, from Old French gojon "pin, peg, spike" (13c.), perhaps somehow an altered sense of gudgeon (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper