Definition of gavel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡavəl/


A small mallet with which an auctioneer, a judge, or the chair of a meeting hits a surface to call for attention or order.
Example sentences
  • For example, when the auctioneer hammers the gavel, a binding contract exists immediately.
  • The judge banged on the table again, wielding the gavel like Thor's hammer, this time with a note of finality that echoed in the spacious room.
  • These golden geese continued to be offered the way they sold best - in real-time sales with glossy printed catalogs and elegant auctioneers wielding polished wooden gavels.

verb (gavels, gaveling, gaveled ; British gavels, gavelling, gavelled)

[with object]
Bring (a hearing or person) to order by use of a gavel: he gaveled the convention to order
More example sentences
  • He gaveled the hearing to a close, intimating that enough light had been shed on the issue to allow him to move forward.
  • The host committee will hold delegation receptions throughout the city on Sunday, Aug.13, the day before the convention is gaveled to order.
  • The warning didn't register with one windbag, and the committee members signaled the emcee to gavel the person off the dais.


Early 19th century (originally US in the sense 'stonemason's mallet'): of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with gavel

Cavell, cavil, gravel, ravel, travel

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gav·el

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