from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A sheaf of corn before it is tied up; a small heap of unbound wheat or other grain.
  • noun A small mallet used by the presiding officer of a legislative body or public assembly to attract attention and signal for order.
  • To partition and distribute (or redistribute) equally (the lands of one deceased) according to the practice of gavelkind. See gavel , n., and gavelkind.
  • noun A dialectal form of gable.
  • To bind into sheaves.
  • noun In old English law, rent; tribute; toll; custom; more specifically, rent payable otherwise than in feudal military service.
  • noun The tenure by which, according to either the ancient Saxon or Welsh custom, land on the death of the tenant did not go to the eldest son, but was partitioned in equal shares among all the sons, or among several members of the family in equal degree, or by which, according to the Irish custom, the death of a holder involved a general redistribution of the tribal lands. Compare gavelkind.
  • noun A partition made pursuant to such custom.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A small heap of grain, not tied up into a bundle.
  • noun The mallet of the presiding officer in a legislative body, public assembly, court, masonic body, etc.
  • noun A mason's setting maul.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A gable.
  • noun (Law) Tribute; toll; custom. [Obs.] See gabel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun historical Rent.
  • noun obsolete Usury; interest on money.
  • noun A wooden mallet, used by a judge in a courtroom, or a chairman of a committee, struck against a sounding block to quiet the rabble down.
  • noun figuratively The legal system as a whole.
  • verb To use a gavel.

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

  • noun a small mallet used by a presiding officer or a judge


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English gafol.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin obscure. Perhaps alteration of cavel ("a stone mason's hammer"). More at cavel.



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