\ 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

The gulf between the spending levels is staggering. James Vaznis,, "Parents to file civil rights lawsuit against state over unequal school funding," 13 June 2019 In truth, the gulf between the teams was bigger than the world ranking would suggest. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "US breaks scoring record in emphatic Women's World Cup display," 11 June 2019 During the first round of talks Wednesday, the gulf between the countries was clear. Jill Colvin, Time, "Mexico Tariffs To Go Ahead as Planned, Says White House as Talks Continue," 7 June 2019 Huge, sweet, head-on prawns were plucked from the gulf, roasted, and bathed in fruity-hot Calabrian chile butter. Fortune, "Review: Patience Is a Virtue Well-Rewarded at this New Orleans Hotel Bar," 14 July 2019 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

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

12 Aug 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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