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

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve showed prices rising 1.4 percent over the past year, well below the Fed’s 2 percent inflation target. BostonGlobe.com, "Germany’s Bayer reports rise in number of Roundup lawsuits," 31 July 2019 An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve showed prices rising 1.4 percent over the past year, well below the Fed’s 2 percent inflation target. Washington Post, "Consumer spending, incomes up in June," 31 July 2019 An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve showed prices rising 1.4% over the past year, well below the Fed’s 2% inflation target. SFChronicle.com, "Grab expands; new tenant for Dean & DeLuca site; consumers spend," 30 July 2019 The best gauge of how far the Longhorns have come is their record against Oklahoma last year—1–1, in a regular-season matchup and then the Big 12 championship game. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "Big 12 2019 Fall Camp Preview: Five Key Storylines for August," 30 July 2019 Its flood gauge is one of the oldest in the country, dating to 1902. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore, Annapolis set records for sunny-day flooding in 2018 — and it could eventually occur every other day," 10 July 2019 One useful gauge is a question that YouGov has been including in polls for the Economist. David Lauter, latimes.com, "A weak front-runner takes a hard punch as debates shake up the Democratic 2020 field," 28 June 2019 When excluding the transportation category, orders grew at a 0.3% pace in May. An underlying business-investment gauge, new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, increased 0.4% from April. Sarah Chaney, WSJ, "Boeing Just One Factor Behind Drop in Durable-Goods Orders in May," 26 June 2019 That makes expectations of inflation an important gauge to watch. Christopher Rugaber, USA TODAY, "Is inflation rising as investors fear? 5 ways to keep track," 14 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the balls are gauged now, and the trophies keep piling up in his locker like old sneakers. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde: It’s the annual Dolphins-Are-Closer-To-Relevancy Day as Tom Brady turns 42 | Commentary," 2 Aug. 2019 The study gauges the frequency of theft, not volume. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "These 20 vehicles are the most stolen new cars in the U.S.," 1 Aug. 2019 By continually tracking these three factors through a phone app, Carpenter can gauge the overall comfort level of his herd and is alerted if a particular cow takes a turn for the worse. Stephanie Blaszczyk, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin dairy cows relax in sand, drink bovine Gatorade and visit the cow 'car wash' to beat summer heat," 19 July 2019 Get our daily newsletter To gauge progress, visit a Walmart outlet down the road from the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. The Economist, "DistributionAmazon and Alibaba are pacesetters of the next supply-chain revolution," 12 July 2019 The company will gauge customer feedback before expanding the program. cleveland.com, "Is it safe to link Giant Eagle card to checking account for gas discounts? — Money Matters," 23 June 2019 To ensure an underband is tight enough, Tempesta recommends reaching around and pulling the underband away from the back to gauge how much room there is. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "How to Find the Right Sports Bra for Optimal Comfort, Posture, and Breast Health," 21 June 2019 Coming Thursday ■ Canada vs. Netherlands, Group E, Reims The Dutch have a 0-9-3 record against Canada, but their improvement can be gauged by a 1-1 draw between the teams in the 2015 WWC. Frank Dell’apa, BostonGlobe.com, "US will face its first stern test vs. Sweden Thursday," 19 June 2019 What Didion gauged and registered, more faithfully than anyone else, were faults in the circuitry, behavioral and neurological, of an entire social structure. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Quentin Tarantino Tweaks History in “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood”," 26 July 2019

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

17 Aug 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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