gauge

noun
\ ˈgāj How to pronounce gauge (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of gauge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a measurement (as of linear dimension) according to some standard or system: such as
(1) : the distance between the rails of a railroad
(2) : the size of a shotgun barrel's inner diameter nominally expressed as the number of lead balls each just fitting that diameter required to make a pound a 12-gauge shotgun
(3) : the thickness of a thin material (such as sheet metal or plastic film)
(4) : the diameter of a slender object (such as wire or a hypodermic needle)
(5) : the fineness of a knitted fabric expressed by the number of loops per unit width
c : measure sense 1 surveys are a gauge of public sentiment
2 : an instrument for or a means of measuring or testing: such as
a : an instrument for measuring a dimension or for testing mechanical accuracy
b : an instrument with a graduated (see graduate entry 3 sense 2a) scale or dial for measuring or indicating quantity
3 : relative position of a ship with reference to another ship and the wind
4 : a function introduced into a field equation to produce a convenient form of the equation but having no observable physical consequences

gauge

verb
variants: or less commonly gage
gauged also gaged; gauging also gaging

Definition of gauge (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to measure precisely the size, dimensions, or other measurable quantity of
b : to determine the capacity or contents of
c : estimate, judge hard to gauge his moods
2a : to check for conformity to specifications or limits
b : to measure off or set out

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Choose the Right Synonym for gauge

Noun

standard, criterion, gauge, yardstick, touchstone mean a means of determining what a thing should be. standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority. standards of behavior criterion may apply to anything used as a test of quality whether formulated as a rule or principle or not. questioned the critic's criteria for excellence gauge applies to a means of testing a particular dimension (such as thickness, depth, diameter) or figuratively a particular quality or aspect. polls as a gauge of voter dissatisfaction yardstick is an informal substitute for criterion that suggests quantity more often than quality. housing construction as a yardstick of economic growth touchstone suggests a simple test of the authenticity or value of something intangible. fine service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant

Gage vs. Gauge

Noun

There are two gages: one refers to pledges or securities and is no longer in common general use, and the other is a variant spelling of gauge, which in the noun form refers broadly to measurement (“fine-gauge wire”) or a standard by which something is measured (“polls are a good gauge of how voters might vote”). The earliest evidence we have for the noun gauge goes back to the 15th century, when English spelling was not yet standardized, and the word in question was spelled gauge and gage with roughly equal frequency. Gauge began to be preferred in the late 19th century for most general uses. Some claim that gage appears as a variant more frequently in the U.S., though our evidence shows that the vast majority of uses for gage are from specialized and technical industries, such as mechanical engineering, manufacturing, and electronics, and that these uses of gage are global, not limited to the U.S. Nonetheless, total use of the word gage is small when compared to the total use of the word gauge.

The verb gauge, which refers to measuring or estimating, also has a variant gage. This variant appears to show up primarily in informal sources, though not often. Gauge is by far the preferred spelling in general usage for both the noun and the verb; we encourage you use it.

Examples of gauge in a Sentence

Noun

The broadest gauge of the economy—the gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation—has risen little more than 4% since the recovery began. — Alfred L. Malabre, Jr., Wall Street Journal, 26 July 1993

Verb

Through history, the powers of single black men flash here and there like falling stars, and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness. — W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903 On the other hand, no one supposes that the intellect of any two animals or of any two men can be accurately gauged by the cubic contents of their skulls. — Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871 Incommunicative as he was, some time elapsed before I had an opportunity of gauging his mind. I first got an idea of its calibre when I heard him preach in his own church at Morton. — Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847 Home sales provide a useful way of gauging the overall state of the economy. He accurately gauged the mood of the voters. I was gauging her reaction to the news. instruments for gauging temperature and humidity
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Another gauge of erosion comes from a set of isotopes—of helium, beryllium, and aluminum—that form when cosmic rays bombard surface rocks. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Dinosaur-age landscapes lurk in Southern Hemisphere," 26 June 2019 Claims include the Silverado 3500 diesel: Accelerating to 60 mph two seconds faster than the corresponding Ram. Zero-60 mph 2.6 seconds quicker towing an 18,000-pound trailer. 1 second quicker 40-60 mph, a useful gauge of passing. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "2020 Chevy Silverado HD wins towing bragging rights over Ram, Ford," 25 June 2019 The Fed is watching warily as global trade flows slow, manufacturing indexes sag and confidence gauges wobble against continuing uncertainty about Mr. Trump’s trade war. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, "Fed Chair Powell Weighs Whether Cut Will Be Needed as Risks Loom," 25 June 2019 Officials also soured on inflation: The median one now sees a less-volatile price gauge closing out the year at 1.8 percent and 1.9 percent in 2020. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fed holds rates steady but cracks door to future cut," 19 June 2019 Excluding gasoline, Canadian annual CPI rose 2.7% in May, or the fastest pace in nearly 11 years for this gauge. Paul Vieira, WSJ, "Canada Inflation Accelerated in May," 19 June 2019 As Nick Carne writes for Cosmos, researchers from the University of Helsinki drew on data detailing around 5,726 cats’ behavior to identify patterns among breeds and gauge heritability. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Your Cat’s Attitude Actually Is Closely Linked to Its Breed, Survey Shows," 19 June 2019 Perhaps a gauge of the event’s interest among super-late model racers, five states were represented by the first five finishers. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Oh, what a memory: Illinois racer finds redemption in the Milwaukee Mile's victory lane," 16 June 2019 View Sample Sign Up Now Other gauges suggest that valuations haven’t skewed too far from historical norms. Katherine Greifeld / Bloomberg, Time, "President Trump Is Right: The Euro Is Too Cheap, According to Most Measures," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ookla, which makes the popular Speedtest.net app for gauging Wi-Fi and cellular data speeds, gathered data on airports in the United States and Canada with free Wi-Fi between January and April of this year. Dwight Silverman, Houston Chronicle, "These are the busiest U.S./Canadian airports with the fastest free Wi-Fi," 12 June 2018 Why: This is a useful metric for measuring your balance—and, hopefully, for gauging your progress in improving it. Adrienne Jordan, GQ, "6 Unilateral Exercises That Will Turn Your Limbs to Wobbly Mush," 28 May 2018 If Bitcoin is a currency, and currencies have value, surely some kind of stab—even in the dark—should be made at gauging its worth. Lionel Laurent, Bloomberg.com, "What Bitcoin Is Really Worth May No Longer Be Such a Mystery," 19 Apr. 2018 An online survey gauging community support will close this week. Washington Post, "Suburban Denver debates tearing down Columbine school," 14 June 2019 An online survey gauging community support will close this week. Kathleen Foody, Fortune, "'They Want to Experience It.' Why Columbine Might Be Demolished 20 Years After School Shooting," 14 June 2019 The poll measured the public's general acceptance of various demographics, rather than gauging support for individual presidential candidates. NBC News, "Age matters more than sexuality to U.S. presidential voters, poll finds," 10 June 2019 The Democratic governor’s aides have reached out to legislators over the past two weeks to gauge support for nominating state budget... Paul Berger And Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "New York’s Gov. Cuomo Weighs Adding Two Allies to MTA Board," 4 June 2019 The Chicago Tribune reported that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was already making calls on Tuesday to gauge support. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "Emanuel's exit heats up crowded, chaotic Chicago mayoral race," 7 Sep. 2018

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for gauge

Noun

Middle English gauge, from Anglo-French

Verb

Middle English gawgyn, gagen, borrowed from Anglo-French gauger, derivative of gauge gauge entry 1

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Learn More about gauge

Dictionary Entries near gauge

gauffre

gaufre

gaufrette

gauge

gaugeable

gauge cock

gauged

Statistics for gauge

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gauge

The first known use of gauge was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for gauge

gauge

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gauge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an instrument that is used for measuring something
: something that can be used to measure or judge something else
: the distance between the rails of a railroad

gauge

verb

English Language Learners Definition of gauge (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a judgment about (something)
: to measure (something) exactly

gauge

noun
variants: also gage \ ˈgāj \

Kids Definition of gauge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a measurement (as the distance between the rails of a railroad or the size of a shotgun barrel's inner diameter) according to some standard a standard gauge railway
2 : an instrument for measuring, testing, or registering a rain gauge a steam gauge

gauge

verb
variants: also gage
gauged also gaged; gauging also gaging

Kids Definition of gauge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to measure exactly gauge rainfall
2 : to make a judgment about It was hard to gauge his moods.

gauge

noun
variants: also gage \ ˈgāj How to pronounce gage (audio) \

Medical Definition of gauge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : measurement according to some standard or system
b : the dimensions or extent of something
2 : an instrument for or a means of measuring or testing
3 : the diameter of a slender object (as a hypodermic needle)
variants: also gage
gauged also gaged; gauging also gaging

Medical Definition of gauge (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : to measure exactly
b : to determine the capacity or contents of
2a : to check for conformity to specifications or limits
b : to measure off or set out

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More from Merriam-Webster on gauge

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gauge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gauge

Spanish Central: Translation of gauge

Nglish: Translation of gauge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gauge for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about gauge

Comments on gauge

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