\ ˈgasp How to pronounce gasp (audio) \
gasped; gasping; gasps

Definition of gasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


plural gasps

Definition of gasp (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of gasping : a sudden loud intake of breath with one's mouth because of surprise, shock, pain, etc. He let out an audible gasp at the sight of the snake. a gasp of surprise His eyes looked wild and strange from the fever; he trembled continuously, and each breath he took sounded like a gasp for life.— Robert C. O'Brien In the next hour Lemieux drew gasps from the crowd half a dozen more times …— E. M. Swift

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Other Words from gasp


gasp noun

Synonyms for gasp

Synonyms: Verb

blow, heave, hyperventilate, pant, puff, wheeze

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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: Verb

The line of people outside Detroit Animal Care and Control cheered and gasped in delight Sunday morning each time the shelter doors swung open and shut, welcoming four anxious paws at a time. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Dozens of Detroit shelter dogs get a day on the town," 30 June 2019 Not for the fainthearted, Hurricane Falls Trail has hikers scrambling over rocks, scaling dizzying heights, and gasping in awe over stunning views of the waterfall from a suspension bridge. Jennifer Adler, National Geographic, "10 perfect ways to cool off in the U.S.," 27 June 2019 But after hearing from relatives of the victims who’d lost a total of well more than $100,000, Bryant decided on a sentence of 46 months - a ruling that led Zils Gagne to gasp in court and then weep for several minutes. Don Stacom,, "Former Bristol council member facing prison term claims her lawyer was ineffective," 21 June 2019 One video shows the crane in the distance slowly topple over as horrified onlookers gasp in shock. Rachel Desantis,, "At Least 1 Person Killed, 6 Injured After Crane Collapses on Dallas Apartment Building," 10 June 2019 Nadal's combination of a drop shot and forehand flick to break for 4-1 in the third had much of the crowd on Philippe Chatrier gasping in appreciation. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Nadal beats Federer to reach 12th French Open final," 7 June 2019 This strong nomination roster represents a diverse blend of talented performers, many of whom are also creators, and groundbreaking content that made us laugh, cry and gasp. Joey Nolfi,, "Game of Thrones, Fleabag, Pose land major TCA Award nominations," 19 June 2019 The pinnacle of the event was the stunt show, during which daredevil Doug Danger jumped a motorcycle over a school bus in front of gasping crowds. Steve Smith,, "Rockstock Rocks Rockville," 6 June 2019 Andrew Schultz heard the crowd gasp when his blazing fastball smacked the catcher’s mitt at an early-season college tournament. Matt Breen,, "Phillies stockpile relief pitchers in draft, pick hard-throwing Andrew Schultz out of Tennessee," 5 June 2019

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


circa 1529, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gasp


Middle English; akin to Old Norse geispa to yawn

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Statistics for gasp

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce gasp (audio) \
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

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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