\ ˈgap How to pronounce gap (audio) \

Definition of gap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a break in a barrier (such as a wall, hedge, or line of military defense)
b : an assailable position
2a : a mountain pass
b : ravine
3 : spark gap
4a : a separation in space
b : an incomplete or deficient area a gap in her knowledge
5 : a break in continuity : hiatus
6 : a break in the vascular cylinder of a plant where a vascular trace departs from the central cylinder
7 : lack of balance : disparity the gap between imports and exports
8 : a wide difference in character or attitude the generation gap
9 : a problem caused by some disparity a communication gap credibility gap


gapped; gapping

Definition of gap (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make an opening in
2 : to adjust the space between the electrodes of (a spark plug)

intransitive verb

: to fall or stand open

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Other Words from gap


gappy \ ˈga-​pē How to pronounce gappy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of gap in a Sentence


The child had a gap between her two front teeth. The gap between the lead runner and the rest of the field continued to widen. The sheep got through a gap in the fence. There are unexplained gaps in his story. The class filled in the gaps in my knowledge of biology. She had taken several years off to raise a family, so there was a large gap in her work history.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There is a massive wealth gap along racial and ethnic lines in the Seattle area, as there is across the U.S. Households headed by a white or Asian person here have a median net worth of around $450,000. Gene Balk / Fyi Guy, The Seattle Times, "Seattle household net worth ranks among top in nation — but wealth doesn’t reach everyone," 19 Feb. 2019 This isn't the first time members of the women's team have tried to close the gap between their pay and that of the men's team. Marci Robin, Allure, "U.S. Women’s National Team Soccer Players Are Suing for Equal Pay," 9 Mar. 2019 But a recent update to Google's Gboard keyboard is closing that gap too. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Google Is Bringing Android's Best Feature to the iPhone," 14 Feb. 2019 The lobby groups also said that the government should provide more money to private companies to close the rural broadband gap. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Ajit Pai wants to raise rural broadband speeds from 10Mbps to 25Mbps," 20 Nov. 2018 To close this gap, the outdoor industry started bringing more women to the table, particularly in executive positions, making room in the C suites at Merrell, Burton, and REI. Mackenzie Wagoner, Glamour, "How Athleisure Evolved Into Fashion's Obsession With All Things Outdoors," 20 Nov. 2018 Serena Williams—and the U.S. women's soccer team—isn't here for the pay gap. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Serena Williams Says the Pay Discrepancy for Female Athletes Is 'Ludicrous'," 9 Mar. 2019 Critics of wind power note that windmills can have problems operating efficiently, thus forcing conventional backup generation units to cover the gaps. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Google And DeepMind Algorithms Could Make Wind Power More Efficient," 27 Feb. 2019 Japan’s imports fell 0.6 percent, leaving a deficit of 1.4 trillion yen ($12.8 billion), up 50 percent from a year earlier and the biggest such gap since March 2014. Elaine Kurtenbach, The Seattle Times, "World shares mostly higher on upbeat talk on China-US trade," 20 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brazil’s central bank said last month that the lack of a fiscal overhaul to address a gaping budget deficit, currently at 7% of gross domestic product, makes the country more vulnerable to volatility. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "Dollar’s Strength Adds Stress to Emerging Market Currencies," 3 June 2018 This leaves gaping holes in the outer sole of the boot. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Lost Art of Floating Logs Down the River," 16 Feb. 2019 Specifically, Western participants expected widened eyes and gaping mouths, while East Asian participant’s ideas culminated in a slight, tight-lipped smile. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "How orgasm faces differ between people from Eastern and Western cultures," 9 Oct. 2018 The agency's own studies have found some its security measures have gaping holes. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Passenger Accidentally Brought Firearm on Flight, TSA Confirms," 14 Jan. 2019 Once inside the show, there’s a collection of skulls mounted like hunting trophies in an explorer’s den and gaping hungrily. Mark Washburn, charlotteobserver, "The Dinosaur King in the Queen City? Charlotte kids might not believe the size of this experience | Charlotte Observer," 25 May 2018 The Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) has been minding the skills gap for more than 30 years, sensing an enormous opportunity to help low-income Chicagoans compete for employment in the trades. Libby Berry, Chicago Reader, "Women are forging a space of their own in Chicago’s manufacturing industry," 18 Jan. 2018 In the cold of an Antarctic night, the group corners and confronts a mutated imitation of their pal Bennings, its eyes wide and mouth gaping. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "Who Goes There?: The Thing returns to the tabletop," 18 Aug. 2018 That forecast appeared to suggest that low unemployment and a gaping federal budget deficit in the wake of President Donald Trump's tax cuts would finally keep inflation at or above the Fed's annual 2 percent target rate., "Weak pay growth puzzles Fed chief, just like everyone else," 14 June 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1879, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for gap


Middle English gap, gappe, borrowed from Old Norse gap "chasm, outcry," noun derivative of gapa "to gape entry 1"


derivative of gap entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near gap


Gao Xingjian






Statistics for gap

Last Updated

11 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gap

The first known use of gap was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for gap



English Language Learners Definition of gap

: a space between two people or things
: a hole or space where something is missing
: a missing part


\ ˈgap How to pronounce gap (audio) \

Kids Definition of gap

1 : an opening made by a break or rupture She squeezed through a gap in the fence.
2 : an opening between mountains
3 : a hole or space where something is missing There are some gaps in his story.


\ ˈgap How to pronounce gap (audio) \

Medical Definition of gap

: a break in continuity especially of structure : hiatus

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More from Merriam-Webster on gap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gap

Spanish Central: Translation of gap

Nglish: Translation of gap for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on gap

What made you want to look up gap? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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