\ ˈgəlf How to pronounce gulf (audio) \

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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Synonyms & Antonyms for gulf

Synonyms: Noun

arm, bay, bight, cove, creek [chiefly British], embayment, estuary, firth, fjord (also fiord), inlet, loch [Scottish]

Synonyms: Verb

deluge, drown, engulf, flood, inundate, overflow, overwhelm, submerge, submerse, swamp

Antonyms: Verb


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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

Centered over the northern gulf, Barry was creeping westward toward the Louisiana coastline at 3 mph, according to an 8 p.m. Thursday weather advisory. Tonya Alanez,, "Tropical Storm Barry slowly creeps toward Louisiana, and a tropical wave arises in Atlantic," 12 July 2019 At a time when the partisan gulf in this country is huge, maybe, just maybe, there’s potential for a bit more common ground on some issues between young Democrats and Republicans than there is between the parties’ respective old-timers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Young voters seem more engaged as 2020 election approaches," 5 July 2019 The gulf between some currencies has widened of late. Steven Russolillo, WSJ, "Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies in the Dust," 30 June 2019 This has caused an ideological gulf to open up between the UK and devolved governments in their interpretation of the territorial constitution. Gareth Evans, Quartz, "The UK’s next prime minister must urgently answer five constitutional questions," 28 June 2019 The official said the United States did not currently plan to raise a U.S. flag on Western ships in the gulf, which would entitle them formally to U.S. naval protection. Tracy Wilkinson,, "Trump’s new Iran sanctions may have modest effect," 24 June 2019 The video from the gulf captures what scientists believe to be either a young female or small male jellyfish about 10 feet long. Josh Baugh,, "San Antonio scientist on crew that captured video of an elusive giant squid in Gulf of Mexico," 24 June 2019 Securing the gulf for oil tankers would require enough naval vessels and reconnaissance capability to monitor just about every ship passing close to Iran’s shores. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Trump Careens Toward a Confrontation With Iran," 17 June 2019 However, the gulf in class became too much in the second half as Dominique Bloodworth, formerly of Arsenal, put the Netherlands back in control before Miedema further extended the Dutch lead. Ben Church, CNN, "Vivianne Miedema: Dutch striker breaks scoring record as Netherlands and Canada progress," 15 June 2019

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

15 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce gulf (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on gulf

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gulf

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gulf

Spanish Central: Translation of gulf

Nglish: Translation of gulf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gulf for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gulf

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