Definition of gamut in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡamət/


(the gamut)
1The complete range or scope of something: the whole gamut of human emotion
More example sentences
  • Anger, jealousy, possessiveness, suspicion, aggression - Harry experiences a whole gamut of human emotions, but seems to able to control them much better that he did in The Phoenix.
  • Her face could register the gamut of human emotions without ever fully revealing her inner nature.
  • These stories take you on an exciting journey, and you traverse a whole gamut of human experience and emotions that reflect the changing Tamil milieu.
range, spectrum, span, sweep, compass, scope, area, breadth, width, reach, extent, catalogue, scale, sequence, series;
2 Music A complete scale of musical notes; the range of a voice or instrument: the orchestral gamut
More example sentences
  • The older corpus tended to treat E and B as notes of secondary importance, but later chants frequently contain passages that use all notes of the gamut equally freely; they also appear to emphasize interlocking chains of 3rds.
  • A strong keyboard technique is called for, with high priority on the ability to vary tonal color to suggest the full orchestral gamut.
2.1 historical A scale consisting of seven overlapping hexachords, containing all the recognized notes used in medieval music, covering almost three octaves from bass G to treble E.
Example sentences
  • The corresponding framework for medieval music is the diatonic gamut from G2 to E5, with B-flat3 and B-flat4.
2.2 historical The lowest note in the gamut scale.
Example sentences
  • Part-music of this period tends to employ the alto-baritone range of pitches, and the usual tuning of this harp began at GG - the gamut, by convention the lowest note in vocal music.


run the gamut

Experience, display, or perform the complete range of something: Owen runs the gamut of emotions in the space of the film
More example sentences
  • In scheduling enough content to run the gamut of women's experiences, the festival has performed a balancing act.
  • This compilation offers a wide range of genres, running the gamut from garage rock through funk, new wave and electroclash to atmospheric rock, and even mellow jazz.
  • The conference planners negotiate special rates at a large number of area hotels that run the gamut of price ranges, and some very special deals are available.


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin gamma ut, originally the name of the lowest note in the medieval scale (bass G an octave and a half below middle C), then applied to the whole range of notes used in medieval music. The Greek letter Γ (gamma) was used for bass G, with ut indicating that it was the first note in the lowest of the hexachords or six-note scales (see solmization).

  • To run the gamut is to experience or display the complete range of something. In medieval music gamut was originally the name of the lowest note in the scale, but the term also came to be applied to the full range of notes which a voice or instrument can produce. In time it started to be used outside musical contexts. According to the acerbic American critic and humorist Dorothy Parker, the film actress Katharine Hepburn ‘ran the whole gamut of emotions from A to B’. This word is from medieval Latin gamma ut, and applied to bass G an octave and a half below middle C. The Greek letter Γ (gamma) was used for bass G, with ut indicating that it was the first note in the lowest of the hexachords or six-note scales. Notes in each hexachord were named using syllables of a Latin hymn for St John the Baptist's Day in which each line began on the next note of the scale: Ut queant laxis resonare fibris Mira gestorum famuli tuorum, Solve polluti labii reatum, Sancte Iohannes. A seventh note, si, was added later, from the initial letters of Sancte Iohannes ‘St John’. The scheme was adapted in the 19th century for the Tonic Sol-fa.

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