\ 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

Koepka, playing with fellow American Reavie in the penultimate pairing, started his day four shots back of Woodland, but quickly closed the gap with four birdies in the first five holes. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Gary Woodland holds off Brooks Koepka to win US Open," 17 June 2019 The Marlins closed the gap even further moments later, when an error by second baseman Adam Frazier allowed Brian Anderson to make the score 3-2. Christian Simmons,, "Cooper again propels Marlins as Miami edges Pirates 4-3," 16 June 2019 After not making a single signing in the last two transfer windows, manager Mauricio Pochettino wants the club to spend money in the transfer market this summer in order to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool., "Tottenham Willing to Break Transfer Record Twice in Pursuit of Lo Celso and Ndombele Deals," 14 June 2019 Nationally, the gap between income and home value has been rising. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Why Housing Policy Feels Like Generational Warfare," 13 June 2019 The difficulties of building a textile industry in Hunan are part of a much bigger challenge: closing the gap between inland China and its coast. The Economist, "Once again, China’s richest region is pulling ahead of the others," 8 June 2019 If Peter Voulkos pushed ceramics to a new level of machismo, Neri's work closes that gender gap with its brash, irreverent, all-caps NUDE WOMEN machisma. Leah Ollman,, "Ruby Neri sculpts flamboyant, fearless, nakedly female figures," 7 June 2019 However, the British rider needs some big performances to close the gap on the top two and keep hopes alive of a second title. Ben Church, CNN, "Global Champions Tour: A-list line-up gathers in the City of Stars," 7 June 2019 The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019 seeks to close the gap in affordable rental units across the nation. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "New affordable housing bill aims to add 1.9M units nationwide," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a selfie posted today, the supermodel is posing coyly in a cushy chair, her legs crossed quite intentionally to expose the gaping wide hole across the back of her denim pants. Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski’s Wardrobe Malfunction Is Instagram Gold," 1 May 2019 Now the program needs to keep it from leaking right back out through the gaping holes across the lineup. Jim Vertuno, The Seattle Times, "After 10-4 finish, Longhorns have to plug up defense," 13 Apr. 2019 But banks would be more reluctant to lend with the property’s gaping vacancy. Konrad Putzier, WSJ, "New York Property Firm Hit the Jackpot. Then Amazon Pulled Out.," 21 Feb. 2019 The two sit in awkward silence, separated by their gaping age difference and by an impenetrable language barrier (the old man’s dialogue is even scribbled in Thai). John Lithgow, New York Times, "Grandmas and Grandpas Are a Kid’s Natural Allies in These Books," 22 June 2018 With his hands in close proximity to the cheetah’s gaping mouth, the valet looks mildly terrified. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Landmark Exhibition Takes You Inside the Exuberant, Diverse World of the Fatimid Dynasty," 21 Mar. 2018 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

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

20 Jun 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

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