\ ˈgap \

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 \ 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

The helicopter eventually edged over a final gap between peaks where, the expanse of the Don Sheldon Amphitheatre appeared spread out before us. Carey Jones, Vogue, "On a Remote Glacier in the Middle of Alaska, I Learned the Magic of Disconnecting," 12 July 2018 The tax credit scheme dates to the 2008 Energy Improvement and Extension Act, which boosted the budding electric car industry by artificially closing the price gap between EVs and cheaper gasoline-powered cars. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "The Terrible Timing of Tesla's Expiring $7,500 Tax Credit," 12 July 2018 Nationwide, the job market shows several other positive signs, including a growing gap between job openings and the number of unemployed. Dan Sweeney,, "Are you ready to take your job and shove it (like millions of others)?," 11 July 2018 Kavanaugh would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy who was often bridged the gap between the court’s liberals and conservatives on consequential and controversial issues, from racial preferences to religious freedom to reproductive rights. Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, "Sen. Todd Young wants an 'originalist' Supreme Court. What does that mean?," 11 July 2018 The gap between the officers' perception and what happened in the room is not surprising, former police officer and Bowling Green State University criminal justice professor Phil Stinson said. Jane Wester, charlotteobserver, "NC cops thought a man shot at them. Investigators say something else happened.," 11 July 2018 The council enacted a hiring freeze for 2017 that required the board to approve filling a vacancy and netted savings from the gap between an employee leaving and a new one being hired. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Council creates two-week hold on filling vacancies," 10 July 2018 The UConn athletic department has seen highs and lows in recent years, but last year showed a widening gap between between the Huskies of today and the Huskies of the past. Kelli Stacy,, "A Look At UConn's Top Teams' Attendance, Revenue And Expenses," 10 July 2018 In doing so, Cincinnati (10-3-5, 35 points) steadied its perch atop the Eastern Conference, creating a four-point gap between it and second-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Scott Winfield,, "ICYMI: FC Cincinnati ties soon-to-be MLS rival, three Cincinnati Reds named MLB All-Stars," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The teen got his driver’s license last month and only had the car for a few weeks before the gaping hole swallowed it, the boy’s grandmother, Candace Leopold, told WCCO-TV. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "'Lucky' teen escapes unscathed after driving vehicle into sinkhole," 7 July 2018 And while the offense has mostly hummed when healthy, rightfield is a gaping hole thanks to Dexter Fowler’s inexplicable slide into being one of baseball’s worst regulars. Staff,, "Nine Innings: Inside J.D. Martinez's Essential Role With the Red Sox and the Best of Mike Trout," 25 June 2018 Since seizing power in a coup nearly four years ago, the Thai government has struggled to narrow gaping economic and political divides. James Hookway, WSJ, "Alibaba Signs Up to Help Out Thailand," 19 Apr. 2018 But that narrow advantage for the Democratic candidate has grown into a gaping divide heading into the 2018 midterms, according to the latest NBC/WSJ poll. Carrie Dann, NBC News, "How a key group — white women with a college degree — view Trump, the GOP and the midterms," 19 Mar. 2018 Climbing the Learning Curve Foremost among those challenges is the need to fill in gaping holes in our knowledge of life’s fundamental limitations. Leonard David, Scientific American, "As Space Becomes a Busy Place, NASA Bolsters Its Planet-Contamination Police," 3 July 2018 Mine: Artest ripped a framed photo of himself out of a Berto Center hallway after Krause traded him to the Pacers on Feb. 19, 2002, tucking it under his arm and leaving a gaping hole in the drywall. K.c. Johnson,, "Ex-Bulls — and Bulls beat writer — recall their favorite memories during Big3 stop at United Center," 2 July 2018 When her little boy died on May 21, 2016, Tracey was left searching for a way to heal the gaping wound in her heart and keep her son's memory alive. Maureen C. Gilmer, Indianapolis Star, "Carmel boy got his angel wings; now a UPS pilot flies the world with his favorite toy," 1 July 2018 These creatures are seemingly under the control of Maeve (Thandie Newton), who is shrouded in a cape, which covers the gaping wounds in her neck sustained in the last stretch of episodes. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Westworld' Finale: What's Ahead in Season 2's Brutal Climax," 17 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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Learn More about gap

Dictionary Entries near gap


Gao Xingjian






Statistics for gap

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of gap 

: a break in continuity especially of structure : hiatus

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Comments on gap

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to make amends

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