Definition of gape in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡeɪp/


[no object]
1Be or become wide open: [with complement]: a carpet 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, crack, split
1.1Stare with one’s mouth open wide in amazement or wonder: he gaped at Sharp in silence
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, gawk, goggle, gaze, ogle, look fixedly, look vacantly
informal rubberneck
British informal gawp


1A wide opening: a wide 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 passers-by
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.
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.

Words that rhyme with gape

agape, ape, cape, chape, crape, crêpe, drape, escape, grape, jape, misshape, nape, rape, scrape, shape, tape

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gape

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