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 1 sense transitive 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. Du Bois, 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 As for that stalker thing, use your good judgment as a gauge of what’s acceptable. Phil Blair, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 May 2021 His win could serve as an early gauge of their support, as cities nationwide grapple with an increase in murders and shootings. Scott Calvert, WSJ, 19 May 2021 The softball team was one of 13 athletic programs affected by the suspension, which wiped out 15 nonconference games that coach Larry Hineline hoped to use as a gauge for his team’s strengths and weaknesses. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, 12 May 2021 U-Haul sees the data as a gauge of which states are attracting residents from outside their borders. The Center Square, Washington Examiner, 1 Mar. 2021 His connections are using the Fountain of Youth as a gauge whether to jump onto the Triple Crown trail or return to the turf. Tom Jicha, sun-sentinel.com, 26 Feb. 2021 But don’t just look at the headline unemployment rate as the gauge. New York Times, 23 Feb. 2021 Volkswagen claims that the ID.4 gets 250 miles on a full charge, but the gauge only ever told us a little more than 230 at 100 percent. The Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 18 May 2021 The town reported at least 13 inches of rain, thoughone weather gauge just north of there reported at least 17 inches. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, 17 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Grand said Metro Transit will gather data on usage, seek feedback from focus groups and conduct a broad electronic survey to gauge whether to continue the free service when the contract expires. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, 11 June 2021 Talbot: Your scoring systems gauge metrics such as brand safety, page content and fraud. Paul Talbot, Forbes, 5 June 2021 After the measures were introduced on Monday, Xinhua conducted a flash poll on the Twitter-like platform Weibo to gauge whether respondents would have three children after the announcement. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, 31 May 2021 Researchers say sewage monitoring could become the primary tool Florida uses to gauge whether COVID-19 vaccines are working and the pandemic is under control — or whether vaccine-resistant varriants are emerging and a booster is needed. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, 29 May 2021 The residents bonded over how each scoured Northwestern’s site before applying, looking at staff bios and portraits to gauge how many potential colleagues might look like them, understand their life experiences and offer unique support. Alison Bowen, chicagotribune.com, 28 May 2021 It’s part of a big experiment to gauge whether flooding a community with rapid coronavirus tests can spur a meaningful reduction in cases and hospitalizations. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, 27 May 2021 To gauge whether area police responded to Creuzot’s policy in January or the legislative change in June, Deason Center researchers calculated monthly averages in 2019. Dallas News, 26 May 2021 The president has set a soft deadline of Memorial Day to gauge whether there is Republican support. Jonathan Lemire, Time, 19 May 2021

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, gage "fixed standard of measure," borrowed from Anglo-French gauge, gouge "standard of liquid measure, tax paid to an official who determined the capacity of containers" (continental Old and Middle French jauge "graduated rod used for measuring liquid capacity, measurement by such a rod, capacity of a cask"), perhaps going back to Old Low Franconian *galga "rod, beam," going back to Germanic *galgōn "pole, stake, pole on which a condemned person was hung"; (sense 4) translation of German Massstab — more at gallows entry 1

Note: The semantic supposition behind this etymology is that the Old Low Franconian etymon retained the sense "rod" (lost elsewhere in Germanic) which was specialized to refer to a kind of measuring rod in Gallo-Romance. For detailed argumentation and bibliography see Dictionnaire étymologique de l'ancien français (online) at entry jauge.

Verb

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

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Learn More About gauge

Time Traveler for gauge

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gauge

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gauge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gauge. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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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 gauge (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)

gauge

transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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