\ 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

Some of the issues are strategic, such as how much to tell employers, or how to handle awkward gaps, criminal records and career switches on the résumé. Amy Lindgren, Twin Cities, "Working Strategies: Careers and job search for people in recovery," 7 Sep. 2019 Regardless of the gaps in Hutchinson's memory, he's guaranteed to have one memento from Saturday's game: The game ball sat in front of him on the podium after U-M's double-overtime victory over the Black Knights. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's defense has game-sealing play, a gem of a performance, vs. Army," 7 Sep. 2019 The problem is especially acute in elementary schools and widens the achievement gap, especially in lower income areas. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres go to bat for math and literacy," 7 Sep. 2019 Admit the talent gap, absorb the atmosphere and ball out. Doug Lesmerises,, "Luke Fickell on Ohio State loss: ‘I’m disappointed we couldn’t give them a real game’," 7 Sep. 2019 Note: This is not a definitive list of films with the longest gaps between sequels, as some movies were intentionally left off of this list. Allen Kim, CNN, "After nearly 17 years, 'Bad Boys II' is getting a sequel. That wait is nothing compared to these movie sequels," 7 Sep. 2019 Lohia: There’s a huge gap between understanding of the product and how things actually happen on the ground. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "How to take India towards an electric vehicles future," 7 Sep. 2019 All four candidates supported investing in programs that would help close the achievement gap in Middletown, including early childhood education, pre-kindergarten and Head Start programs. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "Here’s what the four Democrats running for mayor in Middletown had to say at Thursday’s candidate forum," 6 Sep. 2019 Mr Moorhouse’s book remedies that gap, weaving together archival material, first-hand accounts, perceptive analysis and heartbreaking descriptions of Poland’s betrayal, defeat and dismemberment. The Economist, "Poland’s forgotten heroism and suffering," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The site sat empty — a gaping hole in the streetscape — until construction of the new building began in the summer of 2017. Johanna Seltz,, "Near replica of 1859 building comes to life in Hingham Square," 28 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately, the script is a dull, plodding mess, with gaping plot holes and almost laughably over-earnest dialogue. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Fight scenes are the only bright spot in grim, joyless Wu Assassins," 19 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

12 Sep 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

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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