\ ˈgāt How to pronounce gait (audio) \

Definition of gait

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a manner of walking or moving on foot
2 : a sequence of foot movements (such as a walk, trot, pace, or canter) by which a horse or a dog moves forward
3 : a manner or rate of movement or progress the leisurely gait of summer


\ ˈgāt How to pronounce gait (audio) \
gaited; gaiting; gaits

Definition of gait (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to train (a horse or a dog) to use a particular gait or set of gaits (see gait entry 1 sense 2)
2 : to lead (a show dog) before a judge to display carriage and movement

intransitive verb

: to walk with a particular gait (see gait entry 1 sense 1)

Examples of gait in a Sentence


They were orthopedic shoes built around molds of my feet, and they had a 2 1/4-inch lift.  … they had given me a more or less even gait for the first time in 10 years. — Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times Magazine, 9 Dec. 1990 Interaction with the horse takes place on several levels. Physical communication is foremost. You learn its body language and it learns to respond to a body language you use to ask for changes in gait, direction, and body frame. — Maxine Kumin, In Deep, 1987 How many prose writers can you identify from their style? Not many have that singular emanation from the temperament or those combinations of words all of them characteristic for a certain gait, a certain tone, a certain idiosyncratic consecutiveness of thought and image. — Paul West, New York Times Book Review, 15 Dec. 1985 He walked with an odd gait, a kind of shuffle, pushing his feet along the floor without lifting them. — E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime, (1974) 1975 They walked on with the same light gait, so nearly of a height that keeping step came as naturally to them as breathing. — Edith Wharton, The Reef, 1912 He has an awkward gait.


Patricia Craige, who has guided Norwegian elkhounds to the final at Westminster eight times, gaited Ch. Vin-Melca's Bombardier to breed honors. — Walter R. Fletcher, New York Times, 13 Feb. 1991 As he watched the flashy dogs gaiting in the rings, he knew in his heart that he wanted to show dogs. Seeing the different breeds was thrilling. — Jacqueline Fraser, Dog Fancy, Sept. 1991

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Police emphasized his distinctive gait, with his feet splayed outward. Jeremy Gorner,, "Gun used in infamous Rogers Park killings linked to 2 shootings on West Side: police reports," 3 July 2019 Gait analysis, or identifying someone through their physical profile while walking, could be defeated by someone aware he or she is being monitored and actively changing their gait. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Pentagon Can ID Your Heartbeat Using Laser Beams," 27 June 2019 But small groups of migrants, identifiable by both their weary gait and their backpacks, continue passing through the town unmolested by locals. Dudley Althaus,, "Migration slows in Mexico. But will it last?," 23 June 2019 Joe DeAngelo was thick-muscled and dough-faced, with an odd jounce to his gait. Tribune News Service,, "The Man in the Window: Is this the childhood of a serial killer? (Part One)," 22 June 2019 Straps attached to the suit and the shoes shorten a person’s gait, making him walk more slowly and with shorter leg movements. Beth Thames |,, "Feeling old? So is Agnes," 5 June 2019 Gabby Gabby is guarded by henchmen: ventriloquist’s dummies whose lurching gait suggests that, in a far-off act of vengeance, a gangster doll broke their legs. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“Toy Story 4” Plays It Again," 21 June 2019 The Aerial-Biped isn't designed to walk as its primary means of locomotion but rather to simulate gaits that are beyond the scope of current bipedal robots. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "This Walking Robot Cuts Corners By Just Flying," 16 Aug. 2018 Participants receive testing to determine their VO2max, body composition, lactate profile, and a gait analysis. Amanda Loudin, NBC News, "Summer camps for adults who like to run," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The training club helps handlers get their dogs comfortable with stacking (physically placed in their proper stance) and gaiting (lapping around the show ring to show judges their trot). Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, "Santa Clara dog training club breeds connections between its members," 15 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gait.' 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 gait


1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1900, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for gait


originally spelling variant of gate entry 3


derivative of gait entry 1

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Statistics for gait

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gait

The first known use of gait was in 1509

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More Definitions for gait



English Language Learners Definition of gait

: a particular way of walking


\ ˈgāt How to pronounce gait (audio) \

Kids Definition of gait

: a way of walking or running


\ ˈgāt How to pronounce gait (audio) \

Medical Definition of gait

1 : a manner of walking or moving on foot
2 : a sequence of foot movements (as a walk, trot, pace, or canter) by which a horse or a dog moves forward

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More from Merriam-Webster on gait

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gait

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gait

Spanish Central: Translation of gait

Nglish: Translation of gait for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gait for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gait

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