- a sudden, short intake of breath, as in shock or surprise.
- a convulsive effort to breathe.
- a short, convulsive utterance: the words came out in gasps.
verb (used without object)
- to catch one’s breath.
- to struggle for breath with the mouth open; breathe convulsively.
- to long with breathless eagerness; desire; crave (usually followed by for or after).
verb (used with object)
- to utter with gasps (often followed by out, forth, away, etc.): She gasped out the words.
- to breathe or emit with gasps (often followed by away).
- last gasp, the point of death; dying: At his last gasp he confessed to the murder.
- (intr) to draw in the breath sharply, convulsively, or with effort, esp in expressing awe, horror, etc
- (intr; foll by after or for) to crave
- (tr often foll by out) to utter or emit breathlessly
- a short convulsive intake of breath
- a short convulsive burst of speech
- at the last gasp
- at the point of death
- at the last moment
late 14c., gaspen, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse geispa “to yawn,” or its Danish derivative gispe “gasp,” which probably are related to Old Norse gapa (see gape). Related: Gasped; gasping.
1570s, from gasp (v.).
see last gasp.