gag

1 of 2

verb

gagged; gagging

transitive verb

1
a
: to restrict use of the mouth of by inserting something into it to prevent speech or outcry
b
: to prevent from exercising freedom of speech or expression
trying to gag the press
legally gagged from discussing the case
c
: to pry or hold open with a gag
2
: to provide or write quips or pranks for
gag a show
3
: to choke or cause to retch

intransitive verb

1
a
: choke
also : to suffer a throat spasm that makes swallowing or breathing difficult
b
: retch
2
: to be unable to endure something : balk
The boys gagged at all the kissing and goo-goo eyes.
3
: to make quips
gagger noun

gag

2 of 2

noun

1
: something thrust into the mouth to keep it open or to prevent speech or outcry
2
: an official check or restraint on debate or free speech
a gag rule
3
: a laugh-provoking remark or act
4

Examples of gag in a Sentence

Verb The government is trying to gag the press. the terrible smell of rotting fish made me gag Noun The movie relies on simpleminded gags for laughs. They hid his clothes as a gag. They tied up the hostages and put gags in their mouths. The government is trying to put a gag on the press. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
His son had a dog, a black Labrador mix, who developed respiratory symptoms, constant coughing that turned to choking and gagging. Detroit Free Press, 22 Feb. 2024 Sunny Hostin just gagged Alyssa Farah Griffin with The View cohost's own political history. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 9 Feb. 2024 The courtroom photos and evidence were so graphic and jolting at times that jurors, observers and even the defense attorney nearly gagged. Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, 31 Jan. 2024 The always intentional Knowles will surely leave fans gagged if her latest will be transformed into a visual concept album. Shelby Stewart, Essence, 14 Jan. 2024 Advertisement Garnett experimented with gagging sounds to heighten the misery of the moment. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2024 One is over the D.C. federal court and the New York civil fraud trial court gagging Trump from discussing the cases. Dan McLaughlin, National Review, 19 Dec. 2023 Garnett foreshadowed the main event by shivering, shuddering and almost gagging in earlier scenes. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2024 On the 32nd anniversary of the killing of four girls found nude, gagged and shot dead execution-style in the ashes of a yogurt shop, their families and the haunted Austin, Texas, community still haven't seen justice served. Christina Coulter, Fox News, 6 Dec. 2023
Noun
From lipomas and cysts to keloids and tumors, Lee tackles them all with professionalism and a seemingly imperturbable gag reflex. Briana Richert, James Mercadante, EW.com, 19 Feb. 2024 Still, there are a few good gags in this one, plus plenty of trippy, artfully rendered VFX by Hugues Namur (Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom), who fuses historic French architecture, including the entire Chateau de Versailles, with futuristic technology to create his intergalactic fleet. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Feb. 2024 But there are less cheerful potential ramifications of choosing to use ccTLDs, whether as a gag or some other reason. Wes Davis, The Verge, 12 Feb. 2024 The running gag of that book was applying Victorian diction and prejudices to high-tech things. Matteo Wong, The Atlantic, 6 Feb. 2024 And, for that matter, there’s the running gag of both Hank and Ted Connelly(**) watching Elf — which is apparently the Christmas Eve balm for sad and lonely men of a certain age. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 5 Feb. 2024 People keeping tropical animals as pets is a not-uncommon gag in movies and sitcoms, a signature of quirkiness for characters like Ace Ventura and Ross Geller. Julia Daye, Sacramento Bee, 7 Feb. 2024 Because of its adorable protagonist, laugh-out-loud gags and touching premise, Paddington succeeds in a way most CGI/live-action hybrids do not. Miami Staff, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Those well versed in Irish history might clock digs at Irish hero Michael Collins or a brief hallucination gag involving the face of politician Gerry Adams. Carlos Aguilar, Variety, 26 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gag.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English gaggen "to strangle," of imitative origin

Noun

derivative of gag entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

1509, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gag was in 1509

Dictionary Entries Near gag

Cite this Entry

“Gag.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gag. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

gag

1 of 2 verb
gagged; gagging
1
: to prevent from speaking or crying out by or as if by stopping up the mouth
2
a
: to vomit or cause to feel like vomiting
3
: to be unable to endure something : balk
4
: to tell jokes

gag

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: something thrust into the mouth especially to prevent speech or outcry
b
: a check to free speech
2
: something said or done to cause laughter
3
: prank

More from Merriam-Webster on gag

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