Middle English gapen, from Old Norse gapa (“to gape”) (compare Swedish gapa, Danish gabe), from Proto-Germanic *gapōną (descendants Middle English geapen, Dutch gapen, German gaffen), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰеh₁p-. Cognates include Russian зяпа (zjapa).
gape (third-person singular simple present gapes, present participle gaping, simple past and past participle gaped)
- (intransitive) To open the mouth wide, especially involuntarily, as in a yawn, anger, or surprise.
- (intransitive) To stare in wonder.
- (intransitive) To open wide; to display a gap.
- (intransitive) Of a cat: to open the passage to the vomeronasal organ, analogous to the flehming in other animals.
gape (countable and uncountable, plural gapes)
- (uncommon) An act of gaping; a yawn.
- A large opening.
- (uncountable) A disease in poultry caused by gapeworm in the windpipe, a symptom of which is frequent gaping.
- The width of an opening.
- (zoology) The maximum opening of the mouth (of a bird, fish, etc.) when it is open.