\ 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

Noun 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. Verb 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 in Shanghai and Beijing are already using gait-analysis tools to identify people. Amrita Khalid, Quartz, "Microsoft and Amazon are at the center of an ACLU lawsuit on facial recognition," 4 Nov. 2019 It wad frae mony a blunder free us, An’ foolish notion: What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us, An’ ev’n devotion! James Macmillan, National Review, "Scottish Nationalists Are Hijacking Music to Push an Independence Agenda," 29 Oct. 2019 Certainly, as the authors suggest, midlife adults with slow gait speed are a potential target for interventions to prevent late-life disability and dementia., "Walking more slowly at age 45 is associated with accelerated aging, which could give doctors an early warning signal of aging-related problems ahead, according to a new study led by researchers from Duke University.," 17 Oct. 2019 As for what’s next for Gabe, Andrea says her son is working with a gait trainer to be able to walk longer and go further, and eventually say goodbye to his wheelchair. Rachel Desantis,, "Motocross Star Ryan Dungey Helps 9-Year-Old Boy Take His First Steps After Cancer Treatment," 25 Sep. 2019 This gentle giant with his lumbering gait and sweet personality touched the hearts of all who knew him. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Albert, the grizzly bear who loved PB&J sandwiches, has died," 30 Aug. 2019 With practice, the animals will adjust their gaits to match the speed of the treadmill and even switch directions—with no input from the brain required. Cassandra Willyard, Scientific American, "How a Revolutionary Technique Got People with Spinal-Cord Injuries Back on Their Feet," 7 Aug. 2019 Icelandic horses are small, hardy, and have a unique ambling gait called the tölt. Opt to saddle up and ride through the surrounding hills with a guide before gathering at the farm for a homemade lunch. National Geographic, "Iceland Family Journey: Geysers, Glaciers, and Fjords," 17 June 2019 The media lab is known for developing robotic prosthetics to mimic the human gait and launching the online news giant Buzzfeed, among other initiatives. Danny Mcdonald,, "MIT president says school received about $800k from Jeffrey Epstein foundations," 22 Aug. 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

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for gait

The first known use of gait was in 1509

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More Definitions for gait


How to pronounce gait (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gait

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on gait

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

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