\ˈgəlf \

Definition of gulf 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a part of an ocean or sea extending into the land

2 : a deep chasm : abyss

3 : whirlpool

4 : a wide gap the gulf between generations


gulfed; gulfing; gulfs

Definition of gulf (Entry 2 of 2)

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Examples of gulf in a Sentence


we dipped our feet in the warm waters of the gulf the great gulf of time and space that separates us from the first inhabitants of North America


with the administration gulfed by so many real problems, it's absurd for the president to concern himself with this nonissue
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hit the Beach: Kite Beach has rental kiosks stocked with paddleboards, kayaks, and kitesurfing gear, or just dive into the gulf and then grab frozen smoothies at Wanna Banana. John Wogan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Dubai: The Layover Hub That’s Truly Worth Sticking Around For," 28 Mar. 2018 The larger females head into the gulf, while the smaller males stay around hard structure inside the bays year around. Frank Sargeant,, "Sheepshead time on the Alabama coast," 28 Mar. 2018 As oil gushed from the seafloor, Rainey continued to claim that 5000 barrels of oil were flowing into the gulf each day. Kathryn Doyle, Popular Mechanics, "While BP Settles for Billions, Another Gulf Oil Explosion," 16 Nov. 2012 This already shows the gulf between educated and popular perceptions of fairies. Longreads, "Fairy Scapegoats: A History of the Persecution of Changeling Children," 9 June 2018 At the other extreme, the museum might have opted for the Renzo Piano solution: dramatize the gulf between old and new, usually with glass. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "This Time, a Much More Promising Attempt to Fix the Frick," 13 Apr. 2018 The letters from children asking Santa to help them see family members in Mexico demonstrate the gulf between the sorts of concerns faced by children of immigrants and those of kids whose families have been here for years. Connor Sheets,, "Sand Mountain kids wrote letters to Santa asking him to bring back their deported fathers," 2 Feb. 2018 Between intention and analysis an enormous gulf can exist. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Melania Trump, Agent of Coat Chaos," 21 June 2018 But where the Falcons are truly hamstrung in Jones’s salary gulf is in taking care of their other players with just less than $10 million in cap space for this year. Jonathan Jones,, "Matt Ryan and the Falcons Are Not Concerned About Julio Jones's Absence ... Yet," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

So many gulfs separate us now: geographical, anatomical, psychological. Ferris Jabr, Smithsonian, "It’s Official: Fish Feel Pain," 8 Jan. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1807, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gulf


Middle English goulf, from Middle French golfe, from Italian golfo, from Late Latin colpus, from Greek kolpos bosom, gulf; akin to Old English hwealf vault, Old High German walbo

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Statistics for gulf

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gulf

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

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More Definitions for gulf



English Language Learners Definition of gulf

: a large area of ocean that is partly surrounded by land

: a difference between two people, groups, or things


\ˈgəlf \

Kids Definition of gulf

1 : a part of an ocean or sea that extends into the land the Gulf of Mexico

2 : a deep split or gap in the earth

3 : a wide separation … so wide sometimes is the gulf between theory and practice.— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

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Comments on gulf

What made you want to look up gulf? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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