\ ˈgaŋ How to pronounce gang (audio) \

Definition of gang

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : group: such as
a : a group of persons working to unlawful or antisocial ends especially : a band of antisocial adolescents
b : a group of persons working together
2 : a group of persons having informal and usually close social relations watching TV with the gang
3a : a set of articles : outfit a gang of oars
b : a combination of similar implements or devices arranged for convenience to act together a gang of saws


verb (1)
ganged; ganging; gangs

Definition of gang (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to assemble or operate simultaneously as a group
b : to arrange in or produce as a gang
2 : to attack in a gang Hoodlums ganged him and took his money.

intransitive verb

: to move or act as a gang Her opponents ganged together to oppose her nomination. — see also gang up


verb (2)
ganged; ganging; gangs

Definition of gang (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: go

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Examples of gang in a Sentence


a gang of drug dealers He is in a gang. He was shot by a member of a rival gang. the gang at the office
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Director and writer Riley Stearns has crafted a layered and unpredictable story about a nondescript office drone named Casey (Eisenberg), who is seemingly randomly assaulted one night by a gang of motorcyclists. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Jesse Eisenberg on the “aspirational and also absurd” manliness in his new movie," 12 July 2019 The event is scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. A town hall is scheduled at 7 p.m. July 10 to discuss steps being taken to mitigate gang activity in the area. Alejandra Reyes-velarde,, "4th shooting in 6 days in La Puente not gang-related but others might be, authorities warn," 3 July 2019 The Cristosal Human Rights Foundation, a humanitarian group that assists victims of violence in Central America, says 84% of Salvadorans who have been forced to move from their homes did so because of territorial control exerted by gangs. Julia Gavarrete, azcentral, "'Mom, I love you': Migrant father and daughter from drowning photo make a sorrowful, final return to El Salvador," 1 July 2019 Their neighborhood was controlled by a gang that enriched itself through drug-dealing, extortion and violence. New York Times, "‘I Didn’t Want Them to Go’: Salvadoran Family Grieves for Father and Daughter Who Drowned," 28 June 2019 Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said that day that the dispute between Holder and Hussle was personal and did not involve gang activity. Andrew Dalton And Katie Campione, USA TODAY, "Nipsey Hussle and alleged killer talked about 'snitching' before shooting, witnesses say," 27 June 2019 In 2016, the Villa Serena motel was inspected after a police raid involving gang activity, and safety and habitability issues were discovered. San Diego Union-Tribune, "El Cajon sets stricter standards for hotels and motels," 20 June 2019 Our crews found evidence of gang activity, fires, vandalism and hazardous conditions. Jennifer Bolton, Houston Chronicle, "Pasadena skyscraper headed for demolition," 17 June 2019 Marie-Yolene Gilles, executive director of the human rights group Fondasyon Je Klere, accused politicians of condoning and encouraging gang activity. Fox News, "Leader or killer? A day with 'Barbecue' in Haiti's capital," 7 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And yet the oscillators responded differently to identical conditions, some ganging together while the rest went their own way, as if not coupled to anything at all. Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization," 4 Apr. 2019 Such engines can run solo but are typically ganged together in groups of two to four. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Skip the Seasickness: How Boats Are Getting More Tech-Savvy," 28 June 2018 Gyrostabilization is used in commercial shipping, military vessels and cost-is-no-object megayachts, and the devices are easily ganged together. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Skip the Seasickness: How Boats Are Getting More Tech-Savvy," 28 June 2018 If a small majority (or even a large majority) of owners could gang together to reduce their percentage and raise others’, that would be neither fair nor honest. Benny L. Kass,, "Must owners without gardens chip in for association landscaping costs?," 15 Nov. 2017 A few days after the review appeared online, Troemel posted a side-by-side comparison and his supporters swiftly expressed their alarm over the similarity, in some cases, ganging up on Gazinskaya. Amy Verner, Vogue, "Catching Up With Vika Gazinskaya and Brad Troemel in the Wake of Fashion’s Latest Copying Debate," 13 July 2017 Backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski’s red zone series ended abruptly when defensive linemen Dan Ekuale and Hercules Mata’afa ganged up to deny tailback Gerard Wicks passage over the goal line. Stefanie Loh, The Seattle Times, "WSU practice notes: Mike Leach says, ‘We’re getting a little more consistent’," 6 Aug. 2017 Sometimes multiple guardians of the English language will gang up, employing ridicule through bad cop-bad cop ridiculing tactics. By Emily Parnell,, "Grammar police, do us a favor and put a sock in it," 20 June 2017 The new version faces contemporary challenges: Many species featured in the original are now considered endangered and Marvel’s Wolverine and Wolfsbane are always ganging up on our hero. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Naywatch: Stop breaking 'CHiPs' off the old TV block," 13 June 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Verb (1)

1791, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Verb (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gang


Middle English, "going, journey, road, path, privy, group of items forming a set," going back to Old English, "going, walking, journey, course, path, privy," going back to Germanic *ganga- (whence Old Saxon gang "walk, course," Old High German "walk, journey, passage," Old Norse gangr "going, course," Gothic gagg "way"), noun derivative from the base of *gangan- "to go" — more at gang entry 3

Note: The meaning "set of articles" apparently first appeared in Middle English, the now predominant meaning "group of persons" in early Modern English (hypothesized instances of this sense in Middle and Old English are dubious). A direct descendant of Old English gang in Modern English would be gong (with the effects of vowel lengthening before the cluster -ŋg- and subsequent rounding of the long vowel in monosyllables), but this survived into Modern English only in the sense "privy"—the now general form gang for other senses was borrowed into standard English from northern dialects and Scots, where rounding never occurred. Use of both the noun and verb gang in its historical senses, denoting motion or passage, is now largely limited to traditional Scots.

Verb (1)

derivative of gang entry 1

Verb (2)

Middle English gangen, gongen & early Scots gang, going back to Old English gangan, gongan, going back to Germanic *gangan- (whence Old Saxon & Old High German gangan"to go," Old Norse ganga, Gothic gaggan), probably going back to Indo-European *ǵhenǵh-i̯̯e-, whence also Lithuanian žeñgti "to stride"

Note: Old English gangan, a Class VII strong verb, was used more or less as a synonym of gān, the ancestor of Modern English go entry 1 (itself descended from Germanic *gēn-), though forms other than the present tense and infinitive rarely occur. In other Germanic languages cognates of gangan served and still serve as suppletive forms of the parallel cognates of gān. Compare note at gang entry 1.

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Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for gang

The first known use of gang was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for gang



English Language Learners Definition of gang

: a group of criminals
: a group of young people who do illegal things together and who often fight against other gangs
informal : a group of people who are friends and who do things together


\ ˈgaŋ How to pronounce gang (audio) \

Kids Definition of gang

1 : a group of people working or going about together
2 : a group of people acting together to do something illegal a gang of thieves
3 : a group of friends I invited the gang over.



Legal Definition of gang

: a group of persons associating for antisocial and often criminal purposes and activities

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More from Merriam-Webster on gang

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gang

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gang

Spanish Central: Translation of gang

Nglish: Translation of gang for Spanish Speakers

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

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