\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

And finally, Power remained in fifth, but closed the gap between he and Dixon by 12 points. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar in Toronto: 'Eh Team' returns home; Conor Daly returns to field," 12 July 2018 Our mission is to close the gender achievement gap in business by providing women with a community to lean on and learn from. Ellevate,, "How cold calling could actually work when you're networking," 12 July 2018 And efforts made by tech companies to close the gender gap have boosted the fortunes of white women, while hobbling progress for women of color. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Facebook's diversity efforts failing African-American and Hispanic women," 12 July 2018 After all, the streaming giant had been closing the gap at an unprecedented clip in recent years. Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: HBO's Most Nominated Streak Ends Amid AT&T's Volume Push," 12 July 2018 During the séance itself, the film visually closes the gap between Annie and her scary art when the camera repeats the same slow track, this time up Annie’s body. Katherine Fusco, The Atlantic, "Hereditary and the Monstrousness of Creative Moms," 11 July 2018 But with Democrats already demonstrating enthusiasm about the election, the effect could be to help Republicans close that gap. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "President Trump Chooses Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Vacancy," 10 July 2018 Newport Beach methodically closed the gap, first with a Charlie Mannon RBI-double in the bottom of the first. Sam Dodge,, "Newport Beach PONY All-Stars advance to sectional championship," 8 July 2018 But the challenge for these countries—as for any hinterland reliant on supplying labour to produce goods for richer neighbours, maquiladora-style—is to keep closing the income gap. The Economist, "Central Europe’s Goldilocks economies," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

With the departure of club legend Andres Iniesta, there is now a considerable creative void gaping in the Catalan side’s engine room, which will surely be an area of priority for reinforcement ahead of next season., "Luis Suarez Urges Barcelona to Sign Tottenham Maestro This Summer to Replace Club Icon," 22 June 2018 The entire province had shared her sentiment and was left gaping in disbelief when the King announced his successor. Tara Knight, The Root, "Beyond the Blue," 13 May 2018 Initial batches of the Model 3 have had fit and finish issues that include gapping in the panels and inconsistent paint quality. Kirsten Korosec, Fortune, "Tesla First-Quarter Earnings: What Investors Will Want To Watch For," 2 May 2018 The lake was formed about 7,700 years ago, when the 12,000-foot Mount Mazama erupted and, within 48 hours, collapsed leaving in its wake a gaping crater that filled with rainfall and snowmelt. Julie H. Case, San Francisco Chronicle, "Oregon’s volcanic byway offers views of where lava shaped the land," 22 May 2018 Cars, swallowed whole, have sunk into gaping maws as if on a disaster movie set. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "'Sinkhole fiasco' plagues Florida neighborhood, as a dozen holes open in the ground | Miami Herald," 2 May 2018 The completely accurate sense that Trump and his party are out to get themselves and their friends rich is the administration’s gaping vulnerability. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Mick Mulvaney Tells Bankers to Pay Up If They Want Favors From Trump," 24 Apr. 2018 Minneapolis police will no longer conduct sting operations targeting small-scale marijuana sellers since a gaping racial disparity has been uncovered in the practice. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "46 of 47 Arrested in Low-Level Marijuana Stings Were Black, So Minneapolis Police Put an End to the Operations," 11 June 2018 Frequently the adult bird would stuff an inset into the gaping mouth of the chick and the little bird would then turn around and produce a soft sack of waste that the parent would remove from the nest. Ernie Cowan,, "Visit the High Sierra with a trip to Palomar Mountain," 11 May 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

7 Nov 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

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


by force of circumstances

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