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

  • n. Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.
  • n. The act, right, or power of giving.
  • n. A talent, endowment, aptitude, or inclination.
  • transitive v. To present something as a gift to.
  • transitive v. To endow with.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something given to another voluntarily, without charge.
  • n. A talent or natural ability.
  • n. Something gained incidentally, without effort.
  • v. To give (as a gift) to.
  • v. To give away, to concede easily.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Anything given; anything voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation; a present; an offering.
  • n. The act, right, or power of giving or bestowing.
  • n. A bribe; anything given to corrupt.
  • n. Some exceptional inborn quality or characteristic; a striking or special talent or aptitude; power; faculty
  • n. A voluntary transfer of real or personal property, without any consideration. It can be perfected only by deed, or in case of personal property, by an actual delivery of possession.
  • transitive v. To endow with some power or faculty. See gift{4}.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To confer or transfer as a gift; make a gift of; donate formally.
  • To endow with a gift or with any power or faculty: chiefly in the past participle.
  • n. The act, right, or power of giving or conferring: as, to get a thing by gift; an office in the gift of the people.
  • n. Specifically, in law: A voluntary transfer of property by the owner of it to another, without consideration or compensation therefor, or without any other consideration than love and affection, or a nominal consideration, or both; a gratuitous assignment. See donation and consideration, In old English law, the creation of an estate in tail (see estate) as distinguished from the creation of an estate in fee simple, which was termed feoffment
  • n. That which is given or bestowed; anything ownership of which is voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation; a present; a donation.
  • n. A natural quality or endowment regarded as conferred; power; faculty: as, the gift of wit; the gift of speech.
  • n. plural White specks on finger-nails, which have been superstitiously supposed to portend gifts.

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

  • n. something acquired without compensation
  • n. natural abilities or qualities
  • v. give as a present; make a gift of
  • v. give qualities or abilities to
  • n. the act of giving


Middle English, from Old Norse; see ghabh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old Norse gipt, cognate with Old English ġift. (Wiktionary)



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

  • See verbify.

    And yes, "gift" is one of those falsche Freunden. You think it's going to be a cognate and it turns out it's not!

    March 16, 2008

  • German for poison.

    January 9, 2008

  • See giftwrap.

    January 9, 2008

  • Your careless gifts of a moment
    Like the meteors of an Autumn night,
    Catch fire in the depth of my being.

    --R. Tagore, Fireflies

    March 9, 2007

  • see maudlin

    December 6, 2006