gate·​keep·​er | \ˈgāt-ˌkē-pər \

Definition of gatekeeper 

1 : one that tends or guards a gate

2 : a person who controls access

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Other Words from gatekeeper

gatekeeping \ ˈgāt-​ˌkē-​piŋ \ noun

Synonyms for gatekeeper


doorkeeper, doorman, janitor, porter [chiefly British]

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Examples of gatekeeper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For decades, standardized tests have served as the gatekeeper of opportunity for high school students across the country. Sara Garcia, Fortune, "Colleges Are Ditching the SAT/ACT. It’s Time They End Early-Decision Practices, Too," 22 June 2018 There's been none of the usual horror reboot hand-wringing from stuffy gatekeeper purists regarding the new Halloween movie, and for good reason: David Gordon Green. Tom Philip, GQ, "The Halloween Trailer Is Everything You Want it to Be," 8 June 2018 Its gatekeeper is an unlikely one, an organization that also happens to be a hugely controversial player in California water politics. Ryan Sabalow And Dale Kasler, sacbee, "This one stretch of river could decide the future of Shasta Dam | The Sacramento Bee," 7 May 2018 Pavlik, who was considered as the gatekeeper to Pence during his term as governor in Indiana, was Pence’s longest-serving aide, joining him in 2001 in his first year in Congress. NBC News, "Pence hits the road with top Trump campaign veterans," 18 May 2018 Both tech and comedy are relatively small, cloistered communities that are heavily dominated by white men — in particular, a handful of gatekeepers at the top. Lux Alptraum, The Verge, "Can Callisto transform how Silicon Valley deals with sexual harassment?," 17 Apr. 2018 Some of Trump’s senior-most staff believed that Hicks, one of Trump’s longest-serving aides who has acted as a gatekeeper for his interview requests, had authorized their cooperation with Wolff. Jennifer Jacobs / Bloomberg, Time, "How Fire and Fury Author Michael Wolff Got Into Donald Trump's White House," 17 Jan. 2018 John Milton railed against this very thing in Areopagitica—the dangerous hubris of government playing the role of gatekeeper to the world of knowledge: Are twenty men enough to estimate all the genius and the good sense of England? Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Death of the Public Square," 6 July 2018 The intolerance of the traditional gatekeepers might have spurred a kind of militancy from thinkers (and fans) who’ve rarely been allowed in. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "Who Gets to Decide What Belongs in the ‘Canon’?," 30 May 2018

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

1572, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for gatekeeper

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gatekeeper

The first known use of gatekeeper was in 1572

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More Definitions for gatekeeper



English Language Learners Definition of gatekeeper

: a person who guards a gate


gate·​keep·​er | \ˈgāt-ˌkē-pər \

Kids Definition of gatekeeper

: a person who guards a gate


gate·​keep·​er | \-ˌkē-pər \

Medical Definition of gatekeeper 

: a health-care professional (as a primary care physician) who regulates access especially to hospitals and specialists managed care plans rely on a designated physician gatekeeper to orchestrate and control the health care of its enrollees— E. A. Halm et al

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a private place of worship

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