gauge

noun
\ ˈgāj How to pronounce gauge (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of gauge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a measurement (as of linear dimension) according to some standard or system: such as
(1) : the distance between the rails of a railroad
(2) : the size of a shotgun barrel's inner diameter nominally expressed as the number of lead balls each just fitting that diameter required to make a pound a 12-gauge shotgun
(3) : the thickness of a thin material (such as sheet metal or plastic film)
(4) : the diameter of a slender object (such as wire or a hypodermic needle)
(5) : the fineness of a knitted fabric expressed by the number of loops per unit width
c : measure sense 1 surveys are a gauge of public sentiment
2 : an instrument for or a means of measuring or testing: such as
a : an instrument for measuring a dimension or for testing mechanical accuracy
b : an instrument with a graduated (see graduate entry 1 sense transitive 2a) scale or dial for measuring or indicating quantity
3 : relative position of a ship with reference to another ship and the wind
4 : a function introduced into a field equation to produce a convenient form of the equation but having no observable physical consequences

gauge

verb
variants: or less commonly gage
gauged also gaged; gauging also gaging

Definition of gauge (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to measure precisely the size, dimensions, or other measurable quantity of
b : to determine the capacity or contents of
c : estimate, judge hard to gauge his moods
2a : to check for conformity to specifications or limits
b : to measure off or set out

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Choose the Right Synonym for gauge

Noun

standard, criterion, gauge, yardstick, touchstone mean a means of determining what a thing should be. standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority. standards of behavior criterion may apply to anything used as a test of quality whether formulated as a rule or principle or not. questioned the critic's criteria for excellence gauge applies to a means of testing a particular dimension (such as thickness, depth, diameter) or figuratively a particular quality or aspect. polls as a gauge of voter dissatisfaction yardstick is an informal substitute for criterion that suggests quantity more often than quality. housing construction as a yardstick of economic growth touchstone suggests a simple test of the authenticity or value of something intangible. fine service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant

Gage vs. Gauge

Noun

There are two gages: one refers to pledges or securities and is no longer in common general use, and the other is a variant spelling of gauge, which in the noun form refers broadly to measurement (“fine-gauge wire”) or a standard by which something is measured (“polls are a good gauge of how voters might vote”). The earliest evidence we have for the noun gauge goes back to the 15th century, when English spelling was not yet standardized, and the word in question was spelled gauge and gage with roughly equal frequency. Gauge began to be preferred in the late 19th century for most general uses. Some claim that gage appears as a variant more frequently in the U.S., though our evidence shows that the vast majority of uses for gage are from specialized and technical industries, such as mechanical engineering, manufacturing, and electronics, and that these uses of gage are global, not limited to the U.S. Nonetheless, total use of the word gage is small when compared to the total use of the word gauge.

The verb gauge, which refers to measuring or estimating, also has a variant gage. This variant appears to show up primarily in informal sources, though not often. Gauge is by far the preferred spelling in general usage for both the noun and the verb; we encourage you use it.

Examples of gauge in a Sentence

Noun The broadest gauge of the economy—the gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation—has risen little more than 4% since the recovery began. — Alfred L. Malabre, Jr., Wall Street Journal, 26 July 1993 Verb Through history, the powers of single black men flash here and there like falling stars, and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness. — W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903 On the other hand, no one supposes that the intellect of any two animals or of any two men can be accurately gauged by the cubic contents of their skulls. — Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871 Incommunicative as he was, some time elapsed before I had an opportunity of gauging his mind. I first got an idea of its calibre when I heard him preach in his own church at Morton. — Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847 Home sales provide a useful way of gauging the overall state of the economy. He accurately gauged the mood of the voters. I was gauging her reaction to the news. instruments for gauging temperature and humidity
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In August, consumer prices rose 4.3% from a year earlier, according to the Commerce Department’s price index for personal-consumption expenditures, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge. Josh Mitchell, WSJ, 10 Oct. 2021 The Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation showed prices rose 4.2% in July compared with the year before and 0.4% compared with June. Rachel Siegel, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Sep. 2021 Inflation, according to the Fed's preferred gauge, rose 3.6% in July compared with a year earlier, the biggest increase in three decades. CBS News, 27 Aug. 2021 The Fed’s preferred price gauge, the personal consumption expenditures index, rose 4.2 percent last month from a year earlier, according to Commerce Department data released on Friday. New York Times, 27 Aug. 2021 Right now, the Fed's preferred inflation gauge is hovering at a sub-1% annual rate, well below the 2% target. Martin Crutsinger, Star Tribune, 26 Aug. 2020 The Consumer Price Index or CPI, the government's main inflation gauge, has ran around a 5% annual pace for the past several months, well above last year's 1.4% rate and the 50-year average of about 3.9%. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, 26 Sep. 2021 Looking at precipitation totals over the last three days, Hamilton County saw an average rainfall of 1.91 inches out of the gauge reports around the county collected by the NWS. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 24 Sep. 2021 Those questions can help educators and parents better gauge how, if at all, children are processing traumatic news events. Alia Wong, USA TODAY, 23 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Scientists have proven that male red-winged blackbirds, which clash over territory, eavesdrop on each others’ fights to gauge a potential rival’s aggression. Max G. Levy, Wired, 9 Sep. 2021 Instead, time is a smoothly varying parameter in the equations of quantum mechanics, a reference against which to gauge the evolution of other observables. Quanta Magazine, 31 Aug. 2021 The Lions will get a chance to gauge their progress against Marist Catholic in their preseason jamboree, then will play the Spartans and Marshfield in tough back-to-back league games in October. oregonlive, 26 Aug. 2021 The leagues' top teams already compete against each other in the Campeones Cup and the Leagues Cup, providing two opportunities to gauge the teams' relative quality. BostonGlobe.com, 24 Aug. 2021 The latest to gauge investor appetite is Chicago’s storied Drake Hotel. Peter Grant, WSJ, 17 Aug. 2021 Stocks have been swaying between between gains and losses as investors try to better gauge the direction of the economic recovery through the rest of the year. Elaine Kurtenbach, ajc, 12 Oct. 2021 Surveys are a great way to gauge your employees’ current mindset and attitudes and inform future decisions. Benjamin Laker, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 And Senate votes on Monday night will be a chance to gauge just how nervous Democrats and Republicans are getting about this standoff figured out. Lauren Fox, CNN, 4 Oct. 2021

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for gauge

Noun

Middle English gauge, gage "fixed standard of measure," borrowed from Anglo-French gauge, gouge "standard of liquid measure, tax paid to an official who determined the capacity of containers" (continental Old and Middle French jauge "graduated rod used for measuring liquid capacity, measurement by such a rod, capacity of a cask"), perhaps going back to Old Low Franconian *galga "rod, beam," going back to Germanic *galgōn "pole, stake, pole on which a condemned person was hung"; (sense 4) translation of German Massstab — more at gallows entry 1

Note: The semantic supposition behind this etymology is that the Old Low Franconian etymon retained the sense "rod" (lost elsewhere in Germanic) which was specialized to refer to a kind of measuring rod in Gallo-Romance. For detailed argumentation and bibliography see Dictionnaire étymologique de l'ancien français (online) at entry jauge.

Verb

Middle English gawgyn, gagen, borrowed from Anglo-French gauger, derivative of gauge gauge entry 1

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Time Traveler for gauge

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near gauge

gaufrette

gauge

gaugeable

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Statistics for gauge

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gauge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gauge. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for gauge

gauge

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gauge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an instrument that is used for measuring something
: something that can be used to measure or judge something else
: the distance between the rails of a railroad

gauge

verb

English Language Learners Definition of gauge (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a judgment about (something)
: to measure (something) exactly

gauge

noun
variants: also gage \ ˈgāj \

Kids Definition of gauge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a measurement (as the distance between the rails of a railroad or the size of a shotgun barrel's inner diameter) according to some standard a standard gauge railway
2 : an instrument for measuring, testing, or registering a rain gauge a steam gauge

gauge

verb
variants: also gage
gauged also gaged; gauging also gaging

Kids Definition of gauge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to measure exactly gauge rainfall
2 : to make a judgment about It was hard to gauge his moods.

gauge

noun
variants: also gage \ ˈgāj How to pronounce gauge (audio) \

Medical Definition of gauge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : measurement according to some standard or system
b : the dimensions or extent of something
2 : an instrument for or a means of measuring or testing
3 : the diameter of a slender object (as a hypodermic needle)

gauge

transitive verb
variants: also gage
gauged also gaged; gauging also gaging

Medical Definition of gauge (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : to measure exactly
b : to determine the capacity or contents of
2a : to check for conformity to specifications or limits
b : to measure off or set out

More from Merriam-Webster on gauge

Nglish: Translation of gauge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gauge for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about gauge

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