gag

1 of 2

verb

gagged; gagging

transitive verb

1
a
: 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

1
a
: 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
gagger noun

gag

2 of 2

noun

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

Example Sentences

Verb The government is trying to gag the press. the terrible smell of rotting fish made me gag Noun 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Now imagine these items being covered in microscopic fecal matter and just try not to gag. Cori Sears, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Jan. 2023 On Christmas Eve, the royal family exchanges gag gifts in the early evening and attends church services on Christmas morning. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 25 Dec. 2022 This leads Martin to pour an entire glass of water directly into his cohort’s mouth, causing Short to gag. Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Dec. 2022 On real-estate TV, brokers and buyers wince and gag over dark cabinets and high-shine brass light fixtures and white appliances, all relics of trends past. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 18 Nov. 2022 Led by a notoriously anti-Bolsonaro judge, Alexandre de Moraes, the TSE has grabbed extraordinary powers and is using them to gag Lula critics. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 23 Oct. 2022 In Italy, as, increasingly, defamation charges are being used to gag the press. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Nov. 2022 In a move befitting a goddamn movie star, Pugh will chopper fly in to Venice just in time to gag everyone on the red carpet. Lester Fabian Brathwaite, EW.com, 4 Sep. 2022 NDAs have also been used in more sinister circumstances to gag victims of harassment and abuse from speaking out about their experiences. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 11 July 2022
Noun
The gag was thought of by Sorrentino who spoofs himself with biting irony. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 19 Jan. 2023 Can't Hardly Wait is a party scene, and it's got romantic scenes that are (for the most part) not gag-worthy. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 11 Jan. 2023 Carmichael even at one point brought up Tom Cruise returning his Golden Globes, which was in protest of the HFPA, but the gag was at Cruise's expense. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 11 Jan. 2023 The gag is that Adidas had given permission to use the four stripes over ten years ago. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 7 Jan. 2023 As soon as the siblings were taken into custody, an internet rumor spread that Andrew had given away their location with the pizza gag, since the boxes were clearly from Jerry’s Pizza — a Romanian brand with more than 20 restaurants. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 30 Dec. 2022 And just like the original Thrones, viewers will find plenty of gag-inducing gross-outs, horrific deaths, and ill-begotten relationships along the way. Marah Eakin, WIRED, 28 Dec. 2022 To many, the gag seemed distracting; Kimmel took the hint and apologized to Brunson on his show later that week. BostonGlobe.com, 27 Dec. 2022 Go back to the first wave of his fame, and to the gag that ran through his drollest roles. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 2 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English gaggen "to strangle," of imitative origin

Noun

derivative of gag entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

1509, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gag was in 1509

Dictionary Entries Near gag

Cite this Entry

“Gag.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gag. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

gag

1 of 2 verb
gagged; gagging
1
: to prevent from speaking or crying out by or as if by stopping up the mouth
2
a
: to vomit or cause to feel like vomiting
3
: to be unable to endure something : balk
4
: to tell jokes

gag

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: something thrust into the mouth especially to prevent speech or outcry
b
: a check to free speech
2
: something said or done to cause laughter
3
: prank

More from Merriam-Webster on gag

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