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

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

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To get the lowdown on gamut, we have to dive to the bottom of a musical scale to which the 11th-century musician and monk Guido of Arezzo applied his particular system of solmization—that is, of using syllables to denote the tones of a musical scale. 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 to cover all the notes in the range of an instrument, and, eventually, to cover 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 Endo’s third Vegas restaurant, Toridokoro Raku, opened in July 2020; the emphasis is on a gamut of poultry cuts prepared with exacting precision. Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 But the actors are very good, editor Sergio Rozas’ input acute, and Alejandro Roman’s original score runs a useful gamut from Pino Donaggio-type florid suspense to a neatly jazzy final-credits track. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 2 June 2022 The cashflow is dominated by gasoline and diesel retail taxes in every state, but energy-producing states have the deepest dependence on fossil fuel income through a gamut of taxes, royalties, lease sales and fees. Morgan Lee And Mead Gruver, Anchorage Daily News, 16 May 2022 Here’s an appealingly pale and fragrant rosé from Oregon’s Stoller Family, its aromas conjuring a whole garden party with a gamut of florals, watermelon, fresh apricot, pink grapefruit, and guava over an oyster shell quality. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 13 May 2022 Like a wide gamut of companies ranging from automakers to health care providers, Apple has been grappling with shortages of computer chips and other key technology components required in modern products. Michael Liedtke, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 These special Ram models are more than just trucks with the gamut of items in the accessory catalog attached to them, as Mopar curates the pickups to create vehicles that stand out from their stablemates. Gregory Fink, Car and Driver, 18 Apr. 2022 There is the Brancusi sculpture that set an auction record for the artist at Christie’s in 2018, and the striking photos by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton—a gamut of artists that says plenty about Cunard’s wide-ranging circle. Mark Peikert, Town & Country, 10 Mar. 2022 When Orbán asserted emergency powers to combat the pandemic, he was denounced by European Union officials and a gamut of human rights experts. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 18 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

24 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gamut.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of gamut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gamut for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gamut


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