gape (gāp, găp)
intr.v. gaped, gap·ing, gapes
1. To open the mouth wide.
2. To stare wonderingly or stupidly, often with the mouth open. See Synonyms at gaze.
3. To be or become open or wide: Holes gaped in the ceiling.
1. The act or an instance of gaping: a scoring move that elicited gapes from her teammates.
2. A large opening: a gape in the sail.
a. The mouth, especially when open.
b. Zoology The width of the space between the open jaws or mandibles of a vertebrate.
4. gapes (used with a sing. verb) A disease of birds, especially young domesticated chickens and turkeys, caused by gapeworms and resulting in obstructed breathing.
5. gapes A fit of yawning.
[Middle English gapen, from Old Norse gapa.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.