\ 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
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

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 Joffe, the promoter, said the gap in the video was because the camera operator turned it off to save battery. John Diedrich, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dennis Munson died in an amateur kickboxing bout in Milwaukee six years ago. Now his family lawsuit is settled.," 10 Feb. 2020 In supposedly progressive London, the wage gap between white and ethnic minority workers is 21.7 percent, government figures show. NBC News, "Meghan Markle and British racism: What her saga says to black Britons," 10 Feb. 2020 The gaps between laws and prices are the spaces where smugglers are thriving — moving products across borders and undercutting the legal market with lower prices. Washington Post, "In agricultural giant Brazil, a new and growing hazard: The illegal trade in pesticides," 9 Feb. 2020 Related Coverage Another major gap is the lack of comprehensive anti-money-laundering requirements on some financial institutions and gatekeeper professions. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, "Treasury Identifies Top Vulnerabilities in U.S. Financial System," 7 Feb. 2020 In addition, the gap between women’s and men’s earnings is wider in San Antonio than in the three other cities, the report found. Sara Cline,, "City of San Antonio hosting first Girls Empowerment Summit," 6 Feb. 2020 The gap between rich and poor in America is the worst it's been in more than a half century. CBS News, "How $98 trillion of household wealth in America is distributed: "It's very depressing"," 31 Jan. 2020 The talent gap between Kentucky and Vanderbilt was great enough to overcome that deficit. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "How to watch Kentucky basketball at Auburn: Game time, streaming info and TV channel," 31 Jan. 2020 The gap between Bryant and those players at their best wasn’t as large as the canyon that existed between Jordan and the rest of the league in the 1990s. New York Times, "Kobe Bryant’s ‘Mamba Army’ Fans Were as Relentless as He Was," 29 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Since the rest of the defense had slid to the right before the snap and continued that way after running back Matt Breida was handed the ball, there was a gaping hole for Breida to run through of a size not seen at the professional level. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Kyle Shanahan’s Revolution," 2 Feb. 2020 The shape of the vines naturally created a gaping mouth. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "The entrance to this Pennsylvania house is monstrous. Cookie monstrous," 26 Oct. 2019 An illustration in a 13th-century German psalter, for example, shows a Christian angel using a sword to force infidels into the gate of hell, represented as a monster with a gaping, flaming mouth. Steven Litt,, "‘Medieval Monsters’ exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art surveys images used to inspire fear, hatred and wonder," 1 Sep. 2019 Wednesday may be a key date in Calhoun's debut tour, but with the MAX crisis far from over, Boeing facing revenue constraints, and a gaping hole in the company's product lineup, difficult questions for the new CEO are just beginning. Dan Catchpole, Fortune, "Boeing earnings preview: Will its new CEO plot a course correction?," 28 Jan. 2020 Here, simulations predict that dark, gaping holes (visible in ultraviolet light) expel tremendous amounts of wind. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "This new solar orbiter will peek at some of the sun’s most secretive spots," 28 Jan. 2020 Mostert would rumble, dart, dash, accelerate, cut – and sometimes all on the same play – through a gaping hole. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: San Francisco 49ers smash their way through Green Bay to Super Bowl LIV," 20 Jan. 2020 Mostert blasted through gaping holes in the Packers’ defense to run for 220 yards on 29 carries. Scott Ostler,, "49ers surf, dance and spike their way to the Super Bowl," 19 Jan. 2020 With Duvernay and 6-6 Collin Johnson both headed to the NFL, which two players can fill the gaping holes? Alex Briseno, Dallas News, "3 reasons why the Texas Longhorns could be worse in 2020, including the gaping holes at WR," 9 Jan. 2020

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

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for gap


How to pronounce gap (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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