\ 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 gap (audio) \ adjective

Examples of gap in a Sentence

Noun 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 The super clinic is meant to fill the gap between an urgent care clinic and the emergency room. oregonlive, "Anna Canzano: What to know when seeking emergency care," 23 Feb. 2021 On that famous journey, medicine was delivered to rural Alaska against all odds and when nobody else could fill the gap. Anchorage Daily News, "‘The New Balto’: Alaska’s fight against COVID-19 takes to the skies," 16 Feb. 2021 Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian said that at one point, Kaiser didn’t have enough vaccines to inoculate its health care workers as eligibility opened to the public and got at least 4,000 doses from the county to fill the gap. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why does California's health care giant Kaiser lag in getting vaccines to seniors?," 13 Feb. 2021 Many title companies will accept the Affidavit of Heirship to fill in the gap in the chain of title. Dallas News, "Affidavit of Heirship: Unraveling the document confusion," 31 Jan. 2021 And during the pandemic, foreign-language programming has helped to fill a gap caused by production shutdowns. Judy Berman, Time, "The Best Result of the Streaming Boom? America Finally Loves Foreign-Language TV," 22 Jan. 2021 With a state budget $4 billion dollars out of balance, Illinois is running out of options to fill the gap. Kevin Bessler, Washington Examiner, "Illinois looks to federal government for bailout money," 22 Jan. 2021 Gricd, a small Nigerian startup, is hoping to help fill this gap. Nell Lewis, CNN, "How solar tech could help distribute Covid-19 vaccines in Africa," 14 Jan. 2021 It’s the best advert for visiting my home country and goes a long way to fill the gap left by the ban on travel. Globe Staff,, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While the look of the sky is undoubtedly something to gap at, please do so from inside your home, if possible. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "How raging wildfires create a hellish red sky," 10 Sep. 2020 Masks made of other materials—surgical masks made of a synthetic nonwoven, meltblown textile, layers of different kinds of cloth, and so on—can gap at the sides and don’t, on their own, fully protect people from getting infected. Megan Molteni, Wired, "How Masks Went From Don’t-Wear to Must-Have," 2 July 2020 Hodges took the snap in punt formation, stepped forward and, as Browns blockers staved off the Saints defense, suddenly raced through a gaping hole downfield. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Ex-Cleveland Browns punter Reggie Hodges turns to writing, motivating others," 2 June 2020 On Friday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam wrote in local newspapers that Hong Kong has become a gaping hole in China’s national security. Natasha Khan, WSJ, "Hong Kong Chief Appeals for Citizens’ Support as Trump Moves Loom," 29 May 2020 But the father of one of these men sniffed it on me—the gaping wound of a loss. Lisa Taddeo, Condé Nast Traveler, "On a Trip to Ireland, Author Lisa Taddeo Confronts Her Grief," 13 Apr. 2020 There was a substantial gaping wound on my left leg. Jason Daley, Outside Online, "This Man Fought a Grizzly Bear with a Pocketknife," 26 Nov. 2019 Are all three of them trying to some extent to put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound from the tragedy of Jack’s death in these relationships at this stage of their life? Dan Snierson,, "This Is Us producers break down the 'creepiness' in Kate's cliffhanger," 23 Oct. 2019 Mitroshina launched the campaign on July 20, posting a photo of herself on Instagram with a black eye and two gaping wounds around her left eye. NBC News, "Russian women post selfies with fake injuries to protest lax domestic violence law," 25 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for gap

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gap

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

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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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