Definition of gamut
1 : the whole series of recognized musical notes
2 : an entire range or series <ran the gamut from praise to contempt>
Examples of gamut in a sentence
She experienced the full gamut of human emotions.
<the actress's work runs the gamut from goofy comedies to serious historical dramas>
Did You Know?
To get the lowdown on gamut, we have to dive to the bottom of a musical scale developed by 11th-century musician and monk Guido of Arezzo. Guido called the first line of his bass staff gamma and the first note in his scale ut, which meant that gamma ut was the term for a note written on the first staff line. In time, gamma ut underwent a shortening to gamut but climbed the scale of meaning. It expanded to cover all the notes of Guido's scale, then all the notes in the range of an instrument, and, eventually, an entire range of any sort.
Origin and Etymology of gamut
Medieval Latin gamma, lowest note of a medieval scale (from Late Latin, 3d letter of the Greek alphabet) + ut ut
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of gamut
GAMUT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of gamut for English Language Learners
: a range or series of related things
Seen and Heard
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