If Bigfoot walked down your street wearing a tutu, you might gape or stare at the man-ape with your mouth open. You’d really gape if the tutu had a gaping, or wide open, hole.

Gape is closely related to the word, gap, which means a space between things. When you gape at something, there is a lot of space between your teeth because your mouth is open in disbelief. You’ll often hear mothers telling children not to gape. The fact is it’s rude to stare at someone that way, even if they are a Sasquatch on the way to dance class.

Definitions of gape
  1. verb

    look with amazement; look stupidly

    gawk, gawp, goggle
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    type of:


    perceive with attention; direct one’s gaze towards

  2. verb

    be wide open

    “the deep
    gaping canyon”
    yaw, yawn
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    type of:


    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)

  3. noun

    a stare of amazement (usually with the mouth open)

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    type of:


    a fixed look with eyes open wide

  4. noun

    an expression of openmouthed astonishment

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    a gaping grimace
    type of:

    facial expression, facial gesture

    a gesture executed with the facial muscles

Word Family