from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See bile.
  • n. Bitterness of feeling; rancor.
  • n. Something bitter to endure: the gall of defeat.
  • n. Outrageous insolence; effrontery.
  • n. A skin sore caused by friction and abrasion: a saddle gall.
  • n. Exasperation; vexation.
  • n. The cause of such vexation.
  • transitive v. To make (the skin) sore by abrasion; chafe.
  • transitive v. To damage or break the surface of by or as if by friction; abrade: the bark of saplings galled by improper staking. See Synonyms at chafe.
  • transitive v. To irk or exasperate; vex: It galled me to have to wait outside.
  • intransitive v. To become irritated, chafed, or sore.
  • n. An abnormal swelling of plant tissue caused by insects, microorganisms, or external injury.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Bile, especially that of an animal; the greenish, profoundly bitter-tasting fluid found in bile ducts and gall bladders, structures associated with the liver.
  • n. The gall bladder.
  • n. Great misery or physical suffering, likened to the bitterest-tasting of substances.
  • n. A bump-like imperfection resembling a gall.
  • n. A feeling of exasperation.
  • n. Impudence or brazenness; temerity, chutzpah.
  • n. A sore or open wound caused by chafing, which may become infected, as with a blister.
  • n. A sore on a horse caused by an ill-fitted or ill-adjusted saddle; a saddle sore.
  • n. A pit caused on a surface being cut caused by the friction between the two surfaces exceeding the bond of the material at a point.
  • v. To trouble or bother.
  • v. To harass, to harry, often with the intent to cause injury.
  • v. To chafe, to rub or subject to friction; to create a sore on the skin.
  • v. To exasperate.
  • v. To cause pitting on a surface being cut from the friction between the two surfaces exceeding the bond of the material at a point.
  • n. A blister or tumor-like growth found on the surface of plants, caused by burrowing of insect larvae into the living tissues, especially that of the common oak gall wasp (Cynips quercusfolii).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The bitter, alkaline, viscid fluid found in the gall bladder, beneath the liver. It consists of the secretion of the liver, or bile, mixed with that of the mucous membrane of the gall bladder.
  • n. The gall bladder.
  • n. Anything extremely bitter; bitterness; rancor.
  • n. Impudence; brazen assurance.
  • n. An excrescence of any form produced on any part of a plant by insects or their larvae. They are most commonly caused by small Hymenoptera and Diptera which puncture the bark and lay their eggs in the wounds. The larvae live within the galls. Some galls are due to aphids, mites, etc. See gallnut.
  • n. A wound in the skin made by rubbing.
  • intransitive v. To scoff; to jeer.
  • transitive v. To impregnate with a decoction of gallnuts.
  • transitive v. To fret and wear away by friction; to hurt or break the skin of by rubbing; to chafe; to injure the surface of by attrition
  • transitive v. To fret; to vex.
  • transitive v. To injure; to harass; to annoy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fret and wear away, as the skin, by friction; excoriate; break the skin of by rubbing: as, a saddle galls the back of a horse.
  • To impair the surface of by rubbing; wear away: as, to gall a mast or a cable.
  • To fret; vex; irritate: as, to be galled by sarcasm.
  • To harass; distress: as, the troops were galled by the shot of the enemy.
  • To fret; be or become chafed.
  • To act in a galling manner; make galling or irritating remarks.
  • To impregnate with a decoction of galls.
  • n. The bitter secretion of the liver: same as bile, 1. See also ox-gall.
  • n. Hence—2. Bitterness of feeling; rancor; malignity; hate.
  • n. The gall-bladder.
  • n. [Cf. bile, 2.] Impudence; effrontery; cheek. [Local, slang.]
  • n. The scum of melted glass.
  • n. A sore on the skin, caused by fretting or rubbing; an excoriation.
  • n. A fault, imperfection, or blemish. Halliwell. [Prov. Eng.]
  • n. In stone- and marble-cutting, a hollow made in the surface of a slab by changing the direction of the cut.
  • n. A spot where grass, corn, or trees have failed. Halliwell (spelled gaul).
  • n. In the southern United States, a low spot, as near the mouth of a river, where the soil under the matted surface has been washed away, or has been so exhausted that nothing will grow on it. See bay-gall.
  • n. A vegetable excrescence produced by the deposit of the egg of an insect in the bark or leaves of a plant, ordinarily due to the action of some virus deposited by the female along with the egg, but often to the irritation of the larva.
  • n. An excrescence on or under the skin of a mammal or a bird, produced by the puncture of an acarid or of an insect of the dipterous genus Œstrus. Encyc. Brit.
  • n. A distortion in a plant caused by a species of parasitic fungus.
  • n. A long space without weft in a piece of cloth.
  • n. A small silver coin of Cambodia, worth about fourpence.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. abnormal swelling of plant tissue caused by insects or microorganisms or injury
  • v. irritate or vex
  • n. an open sore on the back of a horse caused by ill-fitting or badly adjusted saddle
  • v. become or make sore by or as if by rubbing
  • n. the trait of being rude and impertinent; inclined to take liberties
  • n. a skin sore caused by chafing
  • n. a digestive juice secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder; aids in the digestion of fats
  • n. a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English gealla, galla; see ghel-2 in Indo-European roots.
Middle English galle, from Old English gealla, possibly from Latin galla, nutgall.
Middle English galle, from Old French, from Latin galla, nutgall.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English ġealla, related to Proto-Germanic *gallō. Cognate with Dutch gal, German Galle, Swedish galle, galla. There may also be influence from Old English geolu ("yellow").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French galle, from Latin galla ("oak-apple").



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The speeding car had the gall to switch five lanes at once, run through a red light, and then cut off a police car before finally coming to a stop in front of a sea of flashing red lights.

    October 12, 2016

  • Rejoice, and men will seek you;

    Grieve, and they turn and go;

    They want full measure of all your pleasure,

    But they do not need your woe.

    Be glad, and your friends are many;

    Be sad, and you lose them all,—

    There are none to decline your nectared wine,

    But alone you must drink life’s gall.

    - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 'Solitude'.

    September 30, 2009

  • By now, pull in your ladder road behind you

    And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.

    Then make yourself at home. The only field

    Now left’s no bigger than a harness gall.

    - Robert Frost, 'Directive'.

    October 4, 2008