[ gasp, gahsp ]
/ gæsp, gɑsp /
a sudden, short intake of breath, as in shock or surprise.
a convulsive effort to breathe.
a short, convulsive utterance: the words came out in gasps.
verb (used without object)
to catch one's breath.
to struggle for breath with the mouth open; breathe convulsively.
to long with breathless eagerness; desire; crave (usually followed by for or after).
verb (used with object)
to utter with gasps (often followed by out, forth, away, etc.): She gasped out the words.
to breathe or emit with gasps (often followed by away).
last gasp, the point of death; dying: At his last gasp he confessed to the murder.
Origin of gasp
1350–1400; Middle English gaspen, probably Old English *gāspen, equivalent to Old Norse geispa; akin to gape
Related formsgasp·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for last-gasp (1 of 2)
(modifier) done in desperation at the last minutea last-gasp attempt to save the talks
British Dictionary definitions for last-gasp (2 of 2)
/ (ɡɑːsp) /
(intr) to draw in the breath sharply, convulsively, or with effort, esp in expressing awe, horror, etc
(intr; foll by after or for) to crave
(tr often foll by out) to utter or emit breathlessly
a short convulsive intake of breath
a short convulsive burst of speech
at the last gasp
- at the point of death
- at the last moment
Derived Formsgaspingly, adverb
Word Origin for gasp
C14: from Old Norse geispa to yawn; related to Swedish dialect gispa, Danish gispe
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
Idioms and Phrases with last-gasp
see last gasp.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.