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

The report seemed to contradict the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers index—typically viewed as a good gauge of the manufacturing sector’s health—which rose in January. Sharon Nunn, WSJ, "Smattering of Contradictory Data Confounds Economists," 15 Feb. 2019 The pickup in headline inflation partly reflects gains in fuel prices, though the annual gain in the core measure — seen by officials as a better gauge of underlying inflation trends — was the most since February 2017. BostonGlobe.com, "Walsh wants Boston developers to pay more," 13 June 2018 More Money: How to find best interest rates on CDs, savings accounts The S&P 500, a popular index that many money managers' performance is compared against, is also viewed as the best gauge of the overall health of the stock market. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "Twitter to be added to S&P 500 index, shares jump on news," 5 June 2018 The clickbait economy has trained readers to recognize shock and surprise as gauges of newsworthiness, and our increasingly surreal political universe has made conspiracy theories seem more plausible. Connie Wang, refinery29.com, "Inside The Fake News Campaign To Smear Russia's Biggest Fashion Influencers," 6 May 2018 The manifestos are viewed as a gauge of Mexican spending as savings in sales tax — in San Antonio 8.25 percent — can add up. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "Data shows Mexican spending for Semana Santa holy week down significantly since 2012," 6 Apr. 2018 Since falling to an 18-month low on Christmas Eve, the benchmark equity gauge has risen in the day’s last hour 74% of the time, compared with 56% of the time between Oct. 16 and Wednesday. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Afternoon Rallies Help Power 2019 Stock Rebound," 13 Feb. 2019 The gauge for a knitted item is indicated on the knitting pattern. Rose Minutaglio, Country Living, "This Art Student Broke the Guinness World Record for Largest Knitting Needles," 20 Nov. 2018 Who doesn’t look at the battery gauge on a smartphone screenshot first? Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Roasting each other for our battery life in screenshots brought the internet together," 13 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

PwC said companies working with older, unreliable data need to first assess that data by identifying its source, gauging its accuracy, and standardizing data formats and labels going forward. Angus Loten, WSJ, "AI Efforts at Large Companies May Be Hindered by Poor Quality Data," 4 Mar. 2019 To gauge whether those gains led to benefits in daily-living skills, the researchers also surveyed the children’s parents, who reported seeing more general improvements in attention. Sarah Deweerdt, Science | AAAS, "Can science-based video games help kids with autism?," 22 June 2018 Politicians treat newspapers as proxies for public opinion, says Rasmus Nielsen of Oxford University, since polls struggle to gauge the strength of feeling on any topic. The Economist, "Paul Dacre, the Daily Mail’s “conductor”, passes the baton," 14 June 2018 The chief vote-counter planned to start surveying members Friday morning to gauge support. Philip Elliott, Time, "President Trump Spiked an Immigration Compromise He Supported," 15 June 2018 But gauging the accuracy on iPhone X demand can be difficult. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "This Analyst Thinks Apple’s Super-Expensive iPhone X Will Be 'Dead' in Months," 20 Apr. 2018 Fans in the Portland area will get a chance to gauge for themselves at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mountain High School in Beaverton when OSU goes through what is expected to be a two-hour practice. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Coaches say effort, desire to improve are there for the Oregon State Beavers' defense," 11 Apr. 2018 Candidates looking for an endorsement must submit a lengthy questionnaire that gauges their support on everything from a $15 an hour minimum wage to whether or not Yale University’s commercial property or endowment should be taxed. Russell Blair, courant.com, "Connecticut Working Families Party Begins Its Endorsement Process Early," 23 Mar. 2018 Those researchers said in a new study published in Molecular Autism on Feb. 18 that their test can gauge whether or not a child has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, with 90 percent accuracy. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Autism is hard to diagnose in young children. This blood test could change that, researchers say," 19 Feb. 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

16 Mar 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

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