Meaning of GAP in English

I. ˈgap noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English gap, gappe, from Old Norse gap chasm, hole; akin to Old Norse gapa to gape — more at gape


a. : a break in a barrier (as a wall or hedge) ; specifically : a breach in a line of military defense

a gap appeared in the front ranks of the Macedonian army — Tom Wintringham

b. : an assailable position : vulnerability

a fatal gap in our security structure — H.S.Truman

2. : a small cleft or notch

a pipe wedged between a gap in his teeth — Judson Philips


a. : a notch in the crest of a ridge : mountain pass : col

US 64 enters a gap in Crowley's Ridge and passes between the rolling slopes — American Guide Series: Arkansas

b. : a gorge cutting through a ridge : ravine — compare water gap , wind gap

c. archaic : a hole in the ground : chasm

great holes and gaps had worn into the soil — Charles Dickens

d. : a break in a levee through which a distributary stream may flow : tidal inlet

the tide … flows in and out through gaps — V.C.Finch & G.T.Trewartha

e. : a steep-sided furrow that cuts transversely across a ridge in the ocean bottom


a. : a separation in space : an intervening distance: as

(1) : the shortest distance between the planes of the chords of the upper and lower wings of a biplane

(2) : spark gap

b. : a place from which something is missing

into the gap left by mobilized men have come women — A.R.Williams

5. : a break in continuity : interval , hiatus

intervening gap of over thirty years — Osbert Sitwell

6. : a break in the vascular cylinder of a plant where a vascular trace departs from the central cylinder — see branch gap , leaf gap


a. : a wide difference in character or attitude

gap between generations

b. : a wide difference in condition or quality

gap between rich and poor

8. : a lack of balance between exports and imports : dollar gap

half the gap in the trade balance represented machinery — Harry Gilroy

Synonyms: see break

II. verb

( gapped ; gapped ; gapping ; gaps )

transitive verb

1. : to make jagged : notch

2. : to make an opening in : breach — usually used in past tense

the magnificent row of houses was gapped in two places where bombs had fallen — C.D.Lewis

3. : to adjust the space between the electrodes of (a spark plug)

intransitive verb

1. : to become notched or jagged

steel gapped and lost its edge — Reader

2. : to become separated

do not let the collar … gap away from the neck — New York Herald Tribune

causing his … shirt to gap open — Calvin Kentfield



variant of gape

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.