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noun \ˈgāj\

Simple Definition of gauge

  • : an instrument that is used for measuring something

  • : something that can be used to measure or judge something else

  • : the distance between the rails of a railroad

Full Definition of gauge

  1. 1 a :  a measurement (as of linear dimension) according to some standard or system: as (1) :  the distance between the rails of a railroad (2) :  the size of a shotgun barrel's inner diameter nominally expressed as the number of lead balls each just fitting that diameter required to make a pound <a 12-gauge shotgun> (3) :  the thickness of a thin material (as sheet metal or plastic film) (4) :  the diameter of a slender object (as wire or a hypodermic needle) (5) :  the fineness of a knitted fabric expressed by the number of loops per unit width b :  dimensions, size c :  measure 1 <surveys are a gauge of public sentiment>

  2. 2 :  an instrument for or a means of measuring or testing: as a :  an instrument for measuring a dimension or for testing mechanical accuracy b :  an instrument with a graduated scale or dial for measuring or indicating quantity

  3. 3 :  relative position of a ship with reference to another ship and the wind

  4. 4 :  a function introduced into a field equation to produce a convenient form of the equation but having no observable physical consequences

Examples of gauge

  1. The broadest gauge of the economy—the gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation—has risen little more than 4% since the recovery began. —Alfred L. Malabre, Jr., Wall Street Journal, 26 July 1993

Variants of gauge

also gage play \ˈgāj\

Origin of gauge

Middle English gauge, from Anglo-French

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of gauge

standard, criterion, gauge, yardstick, touchstone mean a means of determining what a thing should be. standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority <standards of behavior>. criterion may apply to anything used as a test of quality whether formulated as a rule or principle or not <questioned the critic's criteria for excellence>. gauge applies to a means of testing a particular dimension (as thickness, depth, diameter) or figuratively a particular quality or aspect <polls as a gauge of voter dissatisfaction>. yardstick is an informal substitute for criterion that suggests quantity more often than quality <housing construction as a yardstick of economic growth>. touchstone suggests a simple test of the authenticity or value of something intangible <fine service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant>.

Other Railroad Terms

Rhymes with gauge



verb \ˈgāj\

Simple Definition of gauge

  • : to make a judgment about (something)

  • : to measure (something) exactly

Full Definition of gauge

gauged also gagedgaug·ing also gag·ing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to measure precisely the size, dimensions, or other measurable quantity of b :  to determine the capacity or contents of c :  estimate, judge <hard to gauge his moods>

  3. 2 a :  to check for conformity to specifications or limits b :  to measure off or set out

Examples of gauge

  1. Through history, the powers of single black men flash here and there like falling stars, and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness. —W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903

  2. On the other hand, no one supposes that the intellect of any two animals or of any two men can be accurately gauged by the cubic contents of their skulls. —Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871

  3. Incommunicative as he was, some time elapsed before I had an opportunity of gauging his mind. I first got an idea of its calibre when I heard him preach in his own church at Morton. —Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847

  4. Home sales provide a useful way of gauging the overall state of the economy.

  5. He accurately gauged the mood of the voters.

  6. I was gauging her reaction to the news.

  7. instruments for gauging temperature and humidity

Variants of gauge

also gage play \ˈgāj\

Origin of gauge

(see 1gauge)

First Known Use: 15th century

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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