gam·​ut | \ ˈga-mət How to pronounce gamut (audio) \

Definition of gamut

1 : the whole series of recognized musical notes
2 : an entire range or series ran the gamut from praise to contempt

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Choose the Right Synonym for gamut

range, gamut, compass, sweep, scope, orbit mean the extent that lies within the powers of something (as to cover or control). range is a general term indicating the extent of one's perception or the extent of powers, capacities, or possibilities. the entire range of human experience gamut suggests a graduated series running from one possible extreme to another. a performance that ran the gamut of emotions compass implies a sometimes limited extent of perception, knowledge, or activity. your concerns lie beyond the narrow compass of this study sweep suggests extent, often circular or arc-shaped, of motion or activity. the book covers the entire sweep of criminal activity scope is applicable to an area of activity, predetermined and limited, but somewhat flexible. as time went on, the scope of the investigation widened orbit suggests an often circumscribed range of activity or influence within which forces work toward accommodation. within that restricted orbit they tried to effect social change

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.

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
Recent Examples on the Web NBC News readers love reading books — and your interest runs the gamut. Gideon Grudo, NBC News, "The most purchased books we covered this holiday season," 27 Dec. 2019 Donations run the gamut — animal causes, homeless shelters, food pantries. Washington Post, "This artist gives paintings to people who donate at least $25 to any charity," 16 Dec. 2019 Opinions on how to tackle the issue ran the gamut on social issue. Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, USA TODAY, "'Childcare is outrageous here': Real people sound off on paid leave, affordable child care," 8 Dec. 2019 Toney’s six touches against the Seminoles ran the gamut. Edgar Thompson,, "10 things we learned from Gators’ 40-17 win over FSU," 1 Dec. 2019 The rosters are comprised of players and personalities that run the gamut. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville native finds community — and a gold medal — with USA Deaf Pan American Games team," 27 Nov. 2019 Hence the mission’s packed provisional agenda of interdisciplinary science observations on its way out of the solar system, which run the gamut from studying dwarf planets to gathering the light of distant galaxies. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Proposed Interstellar Mission Reaches for the Stars, One Generation at a Time," 12 Nov. 2019 Between Thursday’s high of 57 degrees and Friday’s low of 29, celebrity style has truly run the gamut. Georgina Kim, Glamour, "How Celebs Are Dressing for Winter In New York, On a Scale of Kaley Cuoco to Kanye," 9 Nov. 2019 Its disregard of safety ran the gamut and resulted in the dispatch of shabby airplanes in the hands of beleaguered pilots. New York Times, "What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?," 18 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gamut.' 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 gamut

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gamut

Middle English gamut, gamma-ut "lowest note in the medieval hexachord system, the system itself," borrowed from Medieval Latin, from gamma gamma entry 1 (used as a symbol for the lowest note in the scale) + ut ut

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Time Traveler for gamut

Time Traveler

The first known use of gamut was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gamut.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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How to pronounce gamut (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gamut

: a range or series of related things

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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