\ ˈgag How to pronounce gag (audio) \
gagged; gagging

Definition of gag

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to restrict use of the mouth of by inserting something into it to prevent speech or outcry
b : to prevent from exercising freedom of speech or expression trying to gag the press legally gagged from discussing the case
c : to pry or hold open with a gag
2 : to provide or write quips or pranks for gag a show
3 : to choke or cause to retch

intransitive verb

1a : choke also : to suffer a throat spasm that makes swallowing or breathing difficult
b : retch
2 : to be unable to endure something : balk The boys gagged at all the kissing and goo-goo eyes.
3 : to make quips



Definition of gag (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something thrust into the mouth to keep it open or to prevent speech or outcry
2 : an official check or restraint on debate or free speech a gag rule
3 : a laugh-provoking remark or act
4 : prank, trick

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Other Words from gag


gagger noun

Synonyms for gag

Synonyms: Verb

barf, heave, hurl, puke, retch, spew, spit up, throw up, upchuck, vomit

Synonyms: Noun

boff (or boffo), boffola, crack, drollery, funny, giggle [chiefly British], jape, jest, joke, josh, laugh, nifty, one-liner, pleasantry, quip, rib, sally, waggery, wisecrack, witticism, yuk (or yuck) [slang]

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Examples of gag in a Sentence


The government is trying to gag the press. the terrible smell of rotting fish made me gag


The movie relies on simpleminded gags for laughs. They hid his clothes as a gag. They tied up the hostages and put gags in their mouths. The government is trying to put a gag on the press.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Because of that, the actors had to kiss in front of a green screen—which is when Harington decided to joke around by gagging and groaning after making out with Clarke. Glamour, "Watch Kit Harington Gag After Kissing Emilia Clarke on the Game of Thrones Set," 16 Apr. 2019 Totally normal fetishes include everything from age play to gagging and golden showers. Gigi Engle, Glamour, "Yes, Your Fetish Is Totally Normal," 14 Mar. 2019 Michelle Obama just won a Grammy for Best Wig Snatching after making a surprise appearance at tonight's award ceremony and leaving all audiences gagging for air. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Michelle Obama Just Showed Up to the Grammys and We're So Emotional," 11 Feb. 2019 The images beaming out of the U.S.-Mexico border — migrants storming barricades, children gagging on tear gas — have intensified the debate regarding the Trump administration’s bare-knuckled approach to immigration. Kyle Swenson, The Seattle Times, "Ammon Bundy breaks with Trump on anti-migrant rhetoric: ‘It’s all fear-based’," 28 Nov. 2018 Jonathan Hatami told jurors that the defendant, 37, had enjoyed tormenting the boy, forcing Gabriel to eat his own vomit and sleep in a cabinet with a sock gagging his mouth. Marisa Gerber,, "'Horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil': Judge sentences mother to life in prison and her boyfriend to death in Gabriel Fernandez murder case," 7 June 2018 Video posted in January 2017 shows the four defendants — all African-American — cutting the white victim’s scalp with a knife, punching and kicking him and laughing as he was bound and gagged in an apartment on Chicago’s West Side. Megan Crepeau,, "Ringleader given 8 years in prison for beating mentally disabled teen in attack livestreamed on Facebook," 5 July 2018 Cooper and Hill taunted the teen with knives and sliced up his sweatshirt, hair and scalp while the teen was tied up and gagged, Lanier said. Megan Crepeau,, "Last of 4 defendants pleads guilty to beating teen with disability in livestreamed Facebook attack," 12 July 2018 The 75-year-old Smith was found bound, gagged and suffocated to death on her bed. Tim Prudente,, "Jury acquits Baltimore man in 1981 cold case killing of 75-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And the gag rule truly would have effected the country’s most vulnerable. Caroline Rothstein, Marie Claire, "How Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum Is Quietly Fighting Trump—and Beating Him," 24 May 2019 Then, in one of the evening's running gags, Howard—and later Bernadette—declare themselves Amy and Sheldon's best friends who will do all their press on their behalf. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Big Bang Theory," 17 May 2019 The focus is as scattered as Wayne’s wild werewolf brood, practically forgetting about Drac’s son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg) and beloved grandson, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), the second film’s center, in favor of continuous gags. Kimber Walsh,, "Review: 'Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation' hits the open seas with its creature comforts intact," 12 July 2018 The season is faster-paced and makes better use of the recurring gags from its entire run. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Arrested Development' finally feels like itself again in Season 5," 22 May 2018 Don’t tie your partner’s arms and legs to the bed, throw on a blindfold, and pop in a ball gag on the first go with bondage. Gigi Engle, SELF, "5 Ways to Ease Your Partner Into Trying Bondage and Kink," 28 Sep. 2018 Some of the results are hilarious: A terrific gag involves a Polaroid camera and Ron at the center of a group shot. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘BlacKkKlansman’ Review: Running on Fury," 9 Aug. 2018 If those lawsuits fail, the domestic gag rule will go into effect in two short months. Lauren Rankin, Teen Vogue, "Trump's Title X Rules Could Lead to More Harassment at Abortion Clinics," 12 Mar. 2019 And then there’s drain cleaning: Running a power auger through a clogged sewer is not for people with a low gag reflex. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gag.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gag


1509, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gag


Middle English gaggen "to strangle," of imitative origin


derivative of gag entry 1

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Statistics for gag

Last Updated

2 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gag

The first known use of gag was in 1509

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More Definitions for gag



English Language Learners Definition of gag

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to put something (such as a piece of cloth) into or over a person's mouth in order to prevent that person from speaking, calling for help, etc.
: to prevent (someone) from speaking freely or expressing opinions
: to vomit or feel as if you are about to vomit : to feel as if what is in your stomach is going to come up into your mouth



English Language Learners Definition of gag (Entry 2 of 2)

: something said or done to make people laugh
chiefly US : something done as a playful trick
: something (such as a piece of cloth) that is put into or over someone's mouth in order to prevent speech


\ ˈgag How to pronounce gag (audio) \
gagged; gagging

Kids Definition of gag

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to stop from speaking or crying out by or as if by covering or blocking the mouth
2 : to vomit or feel like vomiting The horrible smell almost made me gag.
3 : choke sense 2 He gagged on his hot dog.



Kids Definition of gag (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something covering or blocking the mouth especially to prevent speaking or crying out
2 : something said or done to make other people laugh

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More from Merriam-Webster on gag

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gag

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gag

Spanish Central: Translation of gag

Nglish: Translation of gag for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gag for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gag

What made you want to look up gag? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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