\ˈgasp \
gasped; gasping; gasps

Definition of gasp 

intransitive verb

1 : to catch the breath convulsively and audibly (as with shock)

2 : to breathe laboriously

transitive verb

: to utter in a gasping manner

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Other Words from gasp

gasp noun

Examples of gasp in a Sentence

Mom gasped in surprise at the sight of my sister's new haircut. He gasped as he stepped into the icy water. a dying man gasping for breath She was gasping for air.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Two African-American women sitting near the back row audibly gasped and shifted in their chairs. NBC News, "YouTube tested, Trump approved: How Candace Owens suddenly became the loudest voice on the far right," 23 June 2018 Another major lake, Ulsoor, is choked with garbage and construction waste and is gasping under a blanket of thick waterweeds. Washington Post, "Water mismanagement leaves India’s Silicon Valley parched," 16 May 2018 But Seattle’s offense could do nothing throughout the first half other than a last-gasp 37 yard drive on its final possession to set up a 56-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time ran out. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks flop in Chicago and lose to Bears on Monday Night Football behind anemic offense," 17 Sep. 2018 Shafran recalls being moved watching the gasping faces of a Sundance audience following their bizarre journey. Washington Post, "Documentary tells dark tale of triplets separated at birth," 28 June 2018 West grabbed a root and pulled himself up on a rock, gasping for air. azcentral, "Into the water," 15 May 2018 Just after midnight on April 13, Stephanie Guercio awoke to her husband gasping for air and turning blue. Hanna Krueger,, "Uptown family reunited with 'angel' who saved father's life," 25 Apr. 2018 The Vanity Fair outing had many on Twitter, gasping at the idea of a romance reconciliation beyond their best friend status. Karen Mizoguchi,, "Mindy Kaling Brought B.J. Novak as Her Date to an Oscars Party — and Fans Love Their Reunion!," 4 Mar. 2018 More than any other genre, horror movies benefit from the collective viewing experience, the sensation of feeling an entire room full of people gasping in fear, screaming in shock, or giggling out of nervous tension. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Ari Aster’s breakout horror hit Hereditary is pants-wettingly scary," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gasp.' 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 gasp

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for gasp

Middle English; akin to Old Norse geispa to yawn

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Statistics for gasp

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gasp

The first known use of gasp was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for gasp



English Language Learners Definition of gasp

: to breathe in suddenly and loudly with your mouth open because of surprise, shock, or pain

: to breathe with difficulty

: to say (something) with quick, difficult breaths


\ˈgasp \
gasped; gasping

Kids Definition of gasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to breathe in suddenly and loudly with the mouth open because of surprise, shock, or pain I could see … spectators gasping at moves no human had ever made before.— Jerry Spinelli, Crash

2 : to breathe with difficulty : pant The runners were gasping after the race.

3 : to utter with quick difficult breaths “I think we're lost,” she gasped.



Kids Definition of gasp (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of breathing in suddenly or with difficulty I heard the crowd's loud gasp.

2 : something gasped He let out a gasp of surprise.

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More from Merriam-Webster on gasp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gasp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gasp

Spanish Central: Translation of gasp

Nglish: Translation of gasp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gasp for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gasp

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living or existing for a long time

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