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gargle Line breaks: gar¦gle
Pronunciation: /ˈɡɑːɡ(ə)l/

Definition of gargle in English:


[no object]
Wash one’s mouth and throat with a liquid that is kept in motion by breathing through it with a gurgling sound: he gargled with alcohol for toothache
More example sentences
  • After lunch I felt so bad I dissolved some aspirin in warm water, gargled noisily and swallowed gratefully.
  • Hot showers, a humidifier, and gargling with warm saltwater aid drainage, shrink inflamed membranes and soothe sore-throat pain.
  • Traditionally patients are advised to gargle with saline, often with the addition of sodium bicarbonate.


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1An act or the sound of gargling: a swig and gargle of mouthwash
More example sentences
  • The muted, standard exhaust is now more of a burbling gargle with undertones of thunder.
  • The usual song is a cacophony of gargles, chitters and squawks.
  • Myrrh resins and tinctures have also been used as a gargle and mouthwash, made by steeping one teaspoon of myrrh in one pint of boiling water for a few minutes, to treat gum infections, coughs and other chest problems.
1.1 [usually in singular] A liquid used for gargling: a gargle for sore throats
More example sentences
  • The infusion of the leaves is a gargle for sore throat.
  • Take honey on its own or make a gargle by mixing two tablespoons of set honey with four tablespoons of cider vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  • Still, it's better than the salt-water gargle many people recommend for sore throats.
1.2British informal An alcoholic drink: they refused him a gargle
More example sentences
  • It was, once upon a time, solely the gargle of the rich and famous.
  • They are typically blessed with a good sense of humour, an obsession with sport and a weakness for gargle.
  • A scrumptious meal was served to everybody, washed down by the gargle.


Early 16th century: from French gargouiller 'gurgle, bubble', from gargouille 'throat' (see gargoyle).

  • The words gargle and gargoyle (Middle English) are closely related, linked by the idea of throats. Gargle comes from French gargouiller ‘to gurgle or bubble’, from gargouille ‘throat’. A gargoyle, a grotesque figure of a human or animal carved on a building, especially one that acts as a waterspout, with water passing through its throat and mouth came from the same source.

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