1 of 2


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


2 of 2


gaited; gaiting; gaits

transitive verb

: to train (a horse or a dog) to use a particular gait or set of gaits (see gait entry 1 sense 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
Benson’s staff is also using cameras guided by artificial intelligence to detect any abnormalities in the distinctive gaits of each horse. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 16 May 2024 Something about Hae Sung’s gait—nervously gripping his backpack while looking for his rideshare to the airport—reminded me of watching my cousin from across a street once in Bangalore. Hazlitt, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for gait 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gait.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



originally spelling variant of gate entry 3


derivative of gait entry 1

First Known Use


1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1900, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gait was in 1509

Dictionary Entries Near gait

Cite this Entry

“Gait.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a manner of moving on foot
also : a particular style of such movement
the gait of a horse

Medical Definition


: a manner of walking or moving on foot
: a sequence of foot movements (as a walk, trot, pace, or canter) by which a horse or a dog moves forward
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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