1

gall

noun \ ˈgȯl \

Definition of gall

1 a : bile; especially : bile obtained from an animal and used in the arts or medicine
b : something bitter to endure
c : bitterness of spirit : rancor
2 : brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence
  • had the gall to think that he could replace her

Origin and Etymology of gall

Middle English galle, going back to Old English gealla, galla, going back to Germanic *gallōn-, galla- (whence Old High German & Old Saxon galla, Old Norse gall), going back to Indo-European *ǵholh3-n- (whence, without the suffix, Greek cholḗ "bile, bitter hatred," chólos "bitter hatred, wrath," Avestan zāra- "bile"), a derivative of *ǵhelh3- "green, yellow" — more at 1yellow
Note: The sense "boldness," first attested in the U.S. in the second half of the 19th century, is perhaps of independent origin.

Synonym Discussion of gall

temerity, audacity, hardihood, effrontery, nerve, cheek, gall, chutzpah mean conspicuous or flagrant boldness. temerity suggests boldness arising from rashness and contempt of danger.
    • had the temerity to refuse
audacity implies a disregard of restraints commonly imposed by convention or prudence.
    • an entrepreneur with audacity and vision
hardihood suggests firmness in daring and defiance.
    • admired for her hardihood
effrontery implies shameless, insolent disregard of propriety or courtesy.
    • outraged at his effrontery
nerve, cheek, gall, and chutzpah are informal equivalents for effrontery.
    • the nerve of that guy
    • has the cheek to call herself a singer
    • had the gall to demand proof
    • the chutzpah needed for a career in show business

2

gall

noun

Definition of gall

1 a : a skin sore caused by chronic irritation
b : a cause or state of exasperation
2 archaic : flaw

Origin and Etymology of gall

Middle English galle "sore on the skin, stain, evil, barren or wet spot in a field (in names)," probably in part going back to Anglian Old English *galla (West Saxon gealla) "sore on the skin of a horse," in part borrowed from Middle Low German galle "swelling in a joint, blastodisc, barren place," both nouns going back to Germanic *gallan- (whence also Old Norse galli "fault, flaw"), perhaps going back to an Indo-European base *ǵholH-, whence, from the derivative *ǵholH-r-, Norwegian galder "windgall," Old Irish galar "disease, pain," Welsh galar "mourning, grief"
Note: Perhaps additionally connected are Lithuanian žalà "harm, damage" (from *ǵholH-eh2), Hittite kallar "nefarious thing, demon" (from *ǵholH-ro-), Old Church Slavic zŭlŭ "bad, evil" (from zero-grade *ǵhlH-o-). According to an older hypothesis the Germanic words are a borrowing from Latin galla "gallnut, oak apple" (see 4gall), but given the wide distribution and range of meanings of the Germanic words, this appears unlikely.


3

gall

verb

Definition of gall

transitive verb
1 : to fret and wear away by friction : chafe
  • the loose saddle galled the horse's back
  • the galling of a metal bearing
2 : irritate, vex
  • sarcasm galls her
intransitive verb
1 : to become sore or worn by rubbing
2 : seize 2

Examples of gall in a Sentence

  1. It galls me that such a small group of people can have so much power.

  2. move that rope so the sharp edge of the hull doesn't gall it

Origin and Etymology of gall

Middle English gallen, in part derivative of galle 2gall, in part borrowed from Middle French galer "to scratch, rub, mount an attack on," derivative of gale "gallnut, callus," borrowed from Latin galla 4gall


4

gall

noun

Definition of gall

: an abnormal outgrowth of plant tissue usually due to insect or mite parasites or fungi and sometimes forming an important source of tannin — see gall wasp illustration

Origin and Etymology of gall

Middle English galle, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin galla "gallnut, oak apple," of obscure origin
Note: Latin galla cannot be akin to 2gall if the latter does in fact descend from Indo-European *ǵholH-, and in any case the basic meaning of galla appears to be "excrescence" rather than "sore, blight."


GALL Defined for English Language Learners

gall

verb

Definition of gall for English Language Learners

  • : to make (someone) feel annoyed or angry


GALL Defined for Kids

1

gall

noun \ ˈgȯl \

Definition of gall for Students

1 : extreme boldness or rudeness
  • She had the gall to return my gift.
2 : bile especially when obtained from an animal for use in the arts or medicine

2

gall

noun

Definition of gall for Students

: a sore spot (as on a horse's back) caused by rubbing

3

gall

verb

Definition of gall for Students

galled; galling
1 : to make sore by rubbing
2 : to annoy or make angry
  • His selfishness just galls me.

4

gall

noun

Definition of gall for Students

: an abnormal swelling or growth on a twig or leaf

Medical Dictionary

1

gall

noun \ ˈgȯl \

medical Definition of gall

: bile; especially : bile obtained from an animal and used in the arts or medicine

2

gall

noun

medical Definition of gall

: a skin sore caused by chronic irritation

3

gall

transitive verb

medical Definition of gall

: to rub and wear away by friction : chafe
  • the loose saddle galled the horse's back

4

gall

noun

medical Definition of gall

: a swelling of plant tissue usually due to fungi or insect parasites and sometimes forming an important source of tannin


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