Definition of gape in English:


Syllabification: gape
Pronunciation: /gāp


[no object]
  • 1Stare with one’s mouth open wide, typically in amazement or wonder: they gaped at her as if she were an alien
    More example sentences
    • Her bluish eyes were wide with shock as her mouth gaped at the sight of me.
    • We all gasped putting our hands over our mouths as we gaped at the scene in front of us.
    • They gaped at him, their mouths slightly open, then simultaneously bolted for the basement door to the outside.
    stare, stare open-mouthed, stare in wonder, goggle, gaze, ogle
    informal rubberneck, gawk
  • 1.1Be or become wide open: [with complement]: a large duffel bag gaped open by her feet
    More example sentences
    • If you're really lucky a Central Line train will already be standing there waiting with its doors gaping open.
    • In spite of widespread statutory reform, legal loopholes gaped wide open at midcentury.
    • A huge hole gaped in the roof, and a conservatory was shattered.
    open wide, open up, yawn; part, split


Back to top  
  • 1A wide opening or breach: a gape of the jaws
    More example sentences
    • But through a wide gape in-between the drapes, the Tokyo moon shone in, its light washing over the whole apartment and bathing it in an ivory glow.
    • The anterior, probably downwards-orientated, part of shell has a gape from which the foot could probably emerged.
    • A wind blew in from the open gape that was my window and I shivered.
  • 1.1An open-mouthed stare: she climbed into her sports car to the gapes of passersby
    More example sentences
    • His face relaxes, his eyes squint, his jaw drops, and he suddenly becomes the everyman, a guy with an open-mouthed gape trying to figure out the world.
    • Devon pulled me down the stairs, getting us a few stares and gapes as ‘the’ Devon was making his entrance without a shirt on.
    • The perch has the large eye and wide gape of an active hunter.
  • 1.2A widely open mouth or beak: juvenile birds with yellow gapes
    More example sentences
    • Nestlings give typical begging calls when parents visit their nest, while also raising their heads and widely opening their yellow to deep-orange gapes.
    • It also has a tiny beak with a large gape, surrounded by stiff feathers called rictal bristles, which help the bird catch its aerial prey.
    • In breeding plumage, yellow gape and chestnut face and neck.
  • 1.3 (the gapes) A disease of birds with gaping of the mouth as a symptom, caused by infestation with gapeworm.
    More example sentences
    • One brood was cooped out of doors on the ground and every chick died of the gapes in less than a month.


Middle English: from Old Norse gapa; related to gap.

More definitions of gape

Definition of gape in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day grotesquerie
Pronunciation: grəʊˈtɛskəri
grotesque quality or grotesque things collectively