\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

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 Davis, basking in adulation after the Pelicans’ four-game sweep of Portland, took the court in a fury, leaving the Oracle fans gasping in admiration. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "As the stars come out, Kevin Durant shines brightest," 28 Apr. 2018 The result of the weekly overexertion silliness is that most of us are gasping for breath trying to keep up with the youngin’s in the group and generally don’t have enough lung capacity for idle garden conversation. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Tomato — the 'luscious beauty' of the garden and how to fight diseases," 8 June 2018 Sometimes a movie Easter egg is so well hidden and perfectly paired that when it's found, the film world collectively gasps in awe. Fernando Alfonso Iii, Houston Chronicle, "How an art director for Disney turned Keanu Reeves into an incredible movie Easter egg," 15 May 2018 An inmate took two hours to die and gasped for air hundreds of times. David Montero,, "Nevada plans to execute inmate next week using controversial paralytic drug," 4 July 2018 The studio audience gasped — before breaking into cheers. John Koblin, New York Times, "Samantha Bee Apologizes for a Slur Against Ivanka Trump," 31 May 2018 And then a series of events felt like a sucker punch, leaving me gasping for air. Lakeisha Fleming, CNN, "Christianity and depression: It's complicated," 20 May 2018 The mamuthones double over in exhaustion, several falling to their knees and gasping for air. Eliot Stein, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Pagan Exorcism in Sardinia," 29 Mar. 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

9 Oct 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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Comments on gasp

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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