There are 2 main definitions of gag in English:

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gag 1

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1A piece of cloth put in or over a person’s mouth to prevent them from speaking: they tied him up and put a gag in his mouth
More example sentences
  • A cloth gag was put over his mouth to stop him from speaking.
  • She tried to scream, but the gag prevented it once again.
  • To her immense satisfaction, the gag did nothing to prevent the volume of her yelling, only muffled and garbled it.
muzzle, tie, restraint
1.1A restriction on dissemination of information: every contract contains a self-signed gag
More example sentences
  • Tim the Rev had picked up on the notion that the codification is intended to put a political gag on charities, and Peter said that the draft legislation had no such intent.
  • The government's official gag on further public discussion of the principal's death only adds to the impression that this is not an isolated case.
  • However, the latest gag prevents users from discussing any aspect of the program.
2A device for keeping the patient’s mouth open during a dental or surgical operation.
Example sentences
  • He or she preps the neonate's face and mouth and also the mouth gag in a circular manner, proceeding from the incision line circumferentially outward.

verb (gags, gagging, gagged)

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1 [with object] Put a gag on (someone): she was bound and gagged by robbers
More example sentences
  • Detectives were today hunting an armed gang who bound and gagged a couple before stealing a large amount of cash.
  • Three men from the crew lurched forward, bounding and gagging the man tightly.
  • A postmaster bound and gagged by two masked robbers during a dawn raid on his village store has told police he wants to quit his job.
stop up, block, plug, clog, stifle, smother, muffle;
put a gag on, silence, hush, quiet
1.1Prevent (someone) from speaking freely or disseminating information: the government is trying to gag its critics
More example sentences
  • This is just an attempt to gag me and stop me from doing my job on behalf of the ratepayers of Manukau City.
  • He said, you know, ultimately, I think there is something here and so I'm going to gag Michael with respect to the information that he has.
  • The London High Court made an order gagging the researcher from disclosing court testimony about his research into PIN number security.
2 [no object] Choke or retch: he gagged on the wine (as adjective gagging) Angela made a gagging noise
More example sentences
  • But there's somebody who either gagged on a spoon, or somebody was choking on a fork, or somebody stuck something too far in the back of their throat.
  • Anyway, I returned to my room, and gagged on the ferocious stench.
  • I'd gone outside to have a cigarette in the morning and gagged on my smoke.
retch, heave, dry-heave, convulse, almost vomit, feel nauseous;
choke, gasp, struggle for breath, fight for air
informal keck
3 (be gagging for) informal, chiefly British Be very eager to have or do (something): I’m absolutely gagging for a pint we’ll be sitting in front of the TV at five to seven next Saturday evening, gagging for the next instalment
More example sentences
  • I'm gagging for the next episode.
  • It also looks wonderful, and if you like wine, you'll be gagging for a glass by the end!
  • Once you smell the hops and barley cooking in the mash tuns, or whatever brewers do, you'll be gagging for a pint of the finished product.


Middle English: perhaps related to Old Norse gagháls 'with the neck thrown back', or imitative of a person choking.

Words that rhyme with gag

bag, blag, brag, Bragg, crag, dag, drag, flag, hag, jag, lag, mag, nag, quag, rag, sag, scrag, slag, snag, sprag, stag, swag, tag, wag, zag
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There are 2 main definitions of gag in English:

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gag 2 Line breaks: gag


A joke or an amusing story, especially one forming part of a comedian’s act or in a film: films that goad audiences into laughing at the most tasteless of gags
More example sentences
  • We're looking for jokes, gags, funny stories, pictures, whatever, but they must be your original work.
  • One of the film's funniest jokes is a running gag involving a car radio stuck on a 1980s soft rock revival station.
  • Bearing in mind the other critical sin of giving away some of the best puns and visual gags in film history to readers who may not have seen them, all I will say is that the answer is yes, a thousand times yes.
joke, jest, witticism, quip, pun, play on words, double entendre, funny remark, witty remark;
flash of wit, rejoinder, sally;
French bon mot
informal crack, wisecrack, one-liner, funny, comeback


[no object] Back to top  
Tell jokes: they gagged about their sexual problems


Mid 19th century (originally theatrical slang): of unknown origin.

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