American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To draw in the breath sharply, as from shock.
- v. To breathe convulsively or laboriously.
- v. To utter in a breathless manner.
- n. A short convulsive intake or catching of the breath.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To labor for breath with open mouth; respire convulsively; pant with great effort.
- To desire with eagerness; crave vehemently.
- To emit or utter gaspingly: with away, forth, out, etc.
- n. The act of catching the breath with open mouth; labored respiration; a short, convulsive catching of the breath.
- n. A short, sudden intake of breath.
- n. UK (slang): A draw or drag on a cigarette (or gasper).
- v. intransitive : To draw in the breath suddenly, as if from a shock.
- v. intransitive : To breathe laboriously or convulsively.
- v. transitive : To speak in a breathless manner
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To open the mouth wide in catching the breath, or in laborious respiration; to labor for breath; to respire convulsively; to pant violently.
- v. To pant with eagerness; to show vehement desire.
- v. To emit or utter with gasps; -- with
forth, out, away, etc.
- n. The act of opening the mouth convulsively to catch the breath; a labored respiration; a painful catching of the breath.
- n. a short labored intake of breath with the mouth open
- v. breathe noisily, as when one is exhausted
- Perhaps from Old Norse geispa or Danish gispe. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English gaspen, gaispen, to gape, yawn, from Old Norse geispa, to yawn. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I hear a gasp from the hundreds gathered below as a rushing fills my head, a crescendo like music, a roar like waves – and I am ecstatic, and filled with wonder, joy and gratitude.”
“The sudden plunge into darkness and the sad gasp from the air conditioning unit was a reminder of the regular power cuts that plague the country.”
“The collective gasp is so loud the ducks take flight, filling the air with their honking.”
“The only reply the three gave was to lower their hoods, bringing a gasp from the fat inn-keep.”
“I kept gasping in horror but a horrified gasp is really just an emphatic hmm.”
“After their names were announced, the judges 'mouths dropped, and you could hear a collective gasp from the studio audience.”
“When I went to the midnight showing of Twilight Peter got the biggest gasp from the audience!”
“Now our children face the terrifying reality that their candy may contain [gasp!] bacon.”
“I've heard Hillary Clinton tell the story many times in speeches, and it rarely fails to bring a horrified gasp from the crowd: An uninsured and pregnant Ohio woman, working for minimum wage at a pizza parlor, is turned away from a hospital because she can't come up with $100.”
“And the other half saw it as the last gasp from a species ill-suited to survive in the current environment where results can actually be measured.”
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