noun gam·ut \ ˈga-mət \
|Updated on: 5 Aug 2018

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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Examples of gamut in a Sentence

  1. She experienced the full gamut of human emotions.

  2. the actress's work runs the gamut from goofy comedies to serious historical dramas

Recent Examples of gamut from the Web

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.

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

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

gamut Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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

GAMUT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of gamut for English Language Learners

  • : a range or series of related things

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having an air of easy unconcern

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