\ ˈgəlp How to pronounce gulp (audio) \
gulped; gulping; gulps

Definition of gulp

transitive verb

1 : to swallow hurriedly or greedily or in one swallow
2 : to keep back as if by swallowing gulp down a sob
3 : to take in readily as if by swallowing gulp down knowledge

intransitive verb

: to catch the breath as if in taking a long drink

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gulp

gulp noun
gulper noun

Examples of gulp in a Sentence

She told him not to gulp his food. The exhausted racers lay on the ground, gulping air. The exhausted racers were gulping for air. I gulped nervously before beginning my speech. “That's a lot of money,” she gulped. He gulped back tears as he thanked the rescuers.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web If there’s a slow food movement, perhaps there should be a slow read movement: books meant to savor, not gulp. Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘The Parisian’ is a slow-burning treat to be savored," 22 May 2019 Could the Federal Reserve have to (gulp) raise rates in 2020 after all? Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Investors may be overly complacent about 2020," 20 Dec. 2019 The fish are air breathers, gulping air to survive and allowing it to live in oxygen-low waters. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What the U.S. Air Force Can Learn From This Piranha-Proof Fish," 18 Oct. 2019 Videos of the holiday meal show delighted onlookers gulping down sides, earning the bewilderment of germaphobes and a soft admonishment from the subway transit authority. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "Commuters went rogue and staged a full Thanksgiving meal on the New York subway," 26 Nov. 2019 The strong smell and taste of pickle juice makes gulping it hard for some people to tolerate. Cindy Krischer Goodman,, "Pickle juice is a big dill for athletes. Here’s why they’re chugging it," 3 Dec. 2019 Where there is data to be gulped, these companies are well aware fortunes await. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Big Tech Is Coming for Your Most Sensitive Data," 13 Nov. 2019 Their previous work helped show that sauropods were eating machines that gulped down vegetation without chewing. John Pickrell, Science | AAAS, "Sauropods grew big by munching ‘superfoods’ with sturdy beaks," 17 Oct. 2019 Every year in October, the giant carp, which are put in the lake to keep down aquatic weeds, turn from eating vegetation to gulping down acorns that fall into the water from overhanging oaks. Frank Sargeant, al, "Hey, anglers, it’s time to go ‘fishing for squirrels’ in north Alabama," 9 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gulp.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gulp

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for gulp

Middle English, from a Middle Dutch or Middle Low German word akin to Dutch & Frisian gulpen to bubble forth, drink deep; akin to Old English gielpan to boast — more at yelp

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gulp

Time Traveler for gulp

Time Traveler

The first known use of gulp was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for gulp

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gulp.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gulp


How to pronounce gulp (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gulp

: to eat or swallow (something) quickly or in large amounts
: to take (air) into your lungs quickly
: to swallow because of strong emotion (such as fear or shock)


\ ˈgəlp How to pronounce gulp (audio) \
gulped; gulping

Kids Definition of gulp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to swallow in a hurry or in large amounts at a time
2 : to breathe in deeply Roy turned his head away to gulp some fresh air.— Carl Hiaasen, Hoot
3 : to keep back as if by swallowing He gulped down a sob.
4 : to say in a nervous way “Oops,” she gulped.



Kids Definition of gulp (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of swallowing or breathing deeply
2 : a large swallow

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gulp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gulp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gulp

Spanish Central: Translation of gulp

Nglish: Translation of gulp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gulp for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gulp

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


good-natured easy friendliness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!