\ 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

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 That big number sixty-six and that unique gait of his, leaning forward, huge shoulders and arms pumping slightly, skinny calves. George Plimpton, Harper's magazine, "End Zone," 19 Aug. 2019 The remaining gaits are the walk and gallop and are used to study a horse’s motion, physics, and style. Megan Woodward,, "Talbot Run’s summer camp helps local riders ‘form a connection’ with horses," 1 Aug. 2019 To help with pronation, the shoe structure emphasizes stability with a vertical groove along the sole that enhances natural gait and adds additional support to the midfoot area. Braelyn Wood,, "Reese Witherspoon Owns So Many Pairs of These Sneakers That She's Constantly Wearing Them," 23 July 2019 Per the study, a set of parallel trackways exhibiting an alternating gait was likely left by relatives of the modern loggerhead turtle. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Baby Sea Turtles’ Fossilized Tracks Found in South Africa," 6 Sep. 2019 The researchers are also developing a new version of the exosuit that will weigh 60 percent as much as the current model and will tailor its assistance to best fit each individual wearer’s shape and gait. Jeremy Hsu, Scientific American, "An Innovative Robotic Exosuit Boosts Both Walking and Running," 16 Aug. 2019 The campers close out the day’s session by taking turns performing two of the four natural gaits with their horses, trotting and cantering. Megan Woodward,, "Talbot Run’s summer camp helps local riders ‘form a connection’ with horses," 1 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

19 Oct 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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