\ 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

On Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Neville discussed how Liverpool have managed to make rapid progress over the last two seasons to close the gap on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City., "Gary Neville Names the 3 Liverpool Stars Man Utd Should Have Signed to Help Premier League Title Bid," 17 Sep. 2019 The business world is trying to close the gap, as Dame Vivian Hunt, managing partner of McKinsey and Company U.K. and Ireland, noted Tuesday. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "Here’s How We Can Achieve More Gender Parity in Business," 17 Sep. 2019 The gender gap in Congress is only growing in terms of Democrats and Republicans. David Montgomery, Washington Post, "Carly Fiorina: Trump didn’t cause dysfunction in politics. He’s the result ‘of all the dysfunction.’," 16 Sep. 2019 Another sticking point is closing the wage gap between those hired before 2007 and those hired after 2007. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "UAW leader says GM could have avoided strike: Here's how," 16 Sep. 2019 With Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez out, Eric Hosmer led off the fifth inning with a single against Yency Almonte, and Wil Myers’ 18th home run of the season and 10th of his career at Coors Field closed the gap to 4-3. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres glad to get out of Denver after sweep by Rockies," 15 Sep. 2019 Biden remains the front runner, though Sanders and Warren have been closing the gap, while Harris, like Buttigieg, has largely been languishing in the single digits. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Tonight's Democratic debate: IndyStar blogs here on Pete Buttigieg's performance," 12 Sep. 2019 The obvious way to close this gap would be to raise the retirement age, as many other countries have done. The Economist, "Another French president tries pension reform," 12 Sep. 2019 While the gap has gotten smaller, progress has stalled in recent years, according to the Department of Labor. Hillary Leung, Time, "'Ms Monopoly' Rewrites the Rules So That Female Players Make More Money Than Males," 11 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The gaping holes they are being asked to fill, however, have become almost impossible to overlook. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "The ailing Angels fall to Rays, their sixth straight loss as they limp to finish line," 14 Sep. 2019 Walsh faced criticism from some advocates who complained that his administration was slow to address the gaping hole in the city’s social safety net., "Most read on," 12 Sep. 2019 The intention was to preserve the conversations to fill what the institution admits was a gaping cultural hole in its famous archives. New York Times, "A Sound-and-Art Show Fills a Void for Muslims in Brooklyn," 9 Sep. 2019 Of course, the planning, like the under-construction stadium around it, still couldn’t hide a couple of gaping holes. Mike Finger,, "As Longhorns stumble against LSU, a plan remains," 7 Sep. 2019 The Tigers’ 200-pound running back, Bradley Pierce, went through gaping holes and contributed touchdowns of one and 43 yards. Los Angeles Times, "San Fernando rolls to a 37-7 win against Franklin in City Section matchup," 6 Sep. 2019 The incident left a gaping hole in a window right over the griddle where Lafayette employee Sam Seferi stands turning hot dogs. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Morning scuffle at Lafayette Coney leads to broken glass, four arrests," 30 Aug. 2019 The Owls' second mistake came on a third and eight on the final play of the drive when sophomore safety Prudy Calderon was baited toward the middle of the field, exposing a gaping hole in coverage. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Rice comes up short to Army in season opener," 30 Aug. 2019 Target hunting The departures of wide receivers Preston Williams and Olabisi Johnson left a gaping hole in the Rams receiving corps. The Denver Post, "Rocky Mountain Showdown 2019: Who has the edge, staff predictions and things to watch," 29 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries near gap


Gao Xingjian






Statistics for gap

Last Updated

10 Oct 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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