Meaning of GIFT in English

gift S2 W2 /ɡɪft/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old Norse ]

1 . something that you give someone, for example to thank them or because you like them, especially on a special occasion SYN present :

The earrings were a gift from my aunt.

gift of

a generous gift of £50

The clock was given as a retirement gift when he left the police.

expensive wedding gifts

Enjoy a free gift with any purchase of $20 or more.

This excellent cookbook would make an ideal gift for anyone just going away to college.


In everyday English, especially in British English, people usually say present rather than gift :

These were a present from my boyfriend.

2 .

a) a natural ability SYN talent

gift for

a gift for languages

He was a kind man, with a gift for forming lasting friendships.

gift of

She has the rare gift of being able to laugh at herself.

b) an ability that is given to you by God

gift of

He was said to have possessed the gift of prophecy.

the use of spiritual gifts

⇨ ↑ gifted

3 . a gift British English informal something that is easier or cheaper than you expected:

The third goal was an absolute gift.

4 . gift (from God) something good you receive or something good that happens to you, even though you might not deserve it:

This opportunity was a gift from God.

5 . the gift of the gab British English , the gift of gab American English informal an ability to speak confidently and to persuade people to do what you want:

Jo has always had the gift of the gab.

6 . be in sb’s gift British English formal if something is in your gift, you have the power to decide who it should be given to:

All appointments to military and administrative posts were in the gift of the King.

7 . never/don’t look a gift horse in the mouth spoken used to tell someone to be grateful for something that has been given to them, instead of asking questions about it or finding something wrong with it

⇨ God’s gift to somebody/something at ↑ god (3)

• • •


■ verbs

▪ give somebody a gift

We gave her a gift on her birthday.

▪ receive a gift

He received a gift from his aunt.

▪ accept a gift

Sam accepted the gift on behalf of the school.

▪ make somebody a gift of something formal (=give someone something as a gift)

Johnson made her a gift of a book.

▪ wrap (up) a gift

She had bought and wrapped gifts for children in hospital.

▪ shower somebody with gifts (=give someone a lot of gifts)

He showered her with gifts and exotic holidays.

▪ exchange gifts (=give someone a gift at the same time as they give you a gift)

We exchange gifts on Christmas Day.


▪ a birthday gift

The camera had been a 21st birthday gift from his parents.

▪ a wedding gift

Some people prefer to give cash as a wedding gift.

▪ a Christmas gift

Before 1940, most people did not wrap Christmas gifts.

▪ a free gift (=something that a shop or business gives you)

If you spend over £50, you get a free gift.

▪ the perfect/ideal gift for somebody

This book is the perfect gift for anybody who’s interested in birds.

▪ a suitable gift

What do you think would be a suitable gift for a 10-year-old boy?

▪ a small gift

Here’s a small gift to show our appreciation for all your hard work.

▪ a generous gift

Her colleagues presented her with a generous gift when she retired.

▪ an expensive gift

He was always showering Louise with expensive gifts.

▪ a lavish gift (=a large, impressive, or expensive gift)

She received lavish gifts of jewellery and clothes.

▪ a parting gift (=a gift that you give someone when you leave/say goodbye)

She brought him a parting gift.

▪ an unwanted gift

You can take any unwanted gifts to charity shops.

■ gift + NOUN

▪ a gift idea

Here is another gift idea with children in mind.

▪ a gift shop

The gift shop was well stocked with souvenirs.

• • •


▪ skill [uncountable and countable] an ability to do something well, especially because you have learned and practised it:

He plays the piano with great skill.


communication/language/computer etc skills


The course will help you improve your communication skills.

▪ talent [uncountable and countable] a natural ability to do something well which can be developed with practice:

She was a young artist with a lot of talent.


She showed a talent for acting from an early age.


He is a man of many talents.

▪ genius [uncountable] very great ability, which only a few people have:

The opera shows Mozart’s genius as a composer.


Picasso was a painter of genius.

▪ gift [countable] a natural ability to do something very well, which you were born with:

You can see that he has a gift for the game.


Winterson has great gifts as a writer.

▪ flair [singular, uncountable] skill for doing something, especially something that needs imagination and creativity:

The job does require some creative flair.


She has a flair for languages.

▪ expertise [uncountable] specialized knowledge of a technical subject, which you get from experience of doing that type of work:

The technical expertise for building the dam is being provided by a US company.

▪ a/the knack /næk/ [singular] informal a special skill for doing a particular thing, especially a simple everyday thing:

Breadmaking is easy once you get the knack.


He has a knack for making people feel relaxed.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.