noun (used with a singular verb)

  1. Veterinary Pathology. a parasitic disease of poultry and other birds, characterized by frequent gaping due to infestation of the trachea and bronchi with gapeworms.
  2. a fit of yawning.

verb (used without object), gaped, gap·ing.

  1. to stare with open mouth, as in wonder.
  2. to open the mouth wide involuntarily, as the result of hunger, sleepiness, or absorbed attention.
  3. to open as a gap; split or become open wide.


  1. a wide opening; gap; breach.
  2. an act or instance of gaping.
  3. a stare, as in astonishment or with the mouth wide open.
  4. a yawn.
  5. Zoology. the width of the open mouth.

noun (functioning as singular)

  1. a disease of young domestic fowl, characterized by gaping or gasping for breath and caused by parasitic worms (gapeworms)
  2. informal a fit of yawning

verb (intr)

  1. to stare in wonder or amazement, esp with the mouth open
  2. to open the mouth wide, esp involuntarily, as in yawning or hunger
  3. to be or become wide openthe crater gaped under his feet


  1. the act of gaping
  2. a wide opening; breach
  3. the width of the widely opened mouth of a vertebrate
  4. a stare or expression of astonishment

early 13c., from an unrecorded Old English word or else from Old Norse gapa “to open the mouth, gape,” common West Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch, Dutch gapen, German gaffen “to gape, stare,” Swedish gapa, Danish gabe), from PIE *ghai- (see gap). Related: Gaped; gaping. As a noun, from 1530s.

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