Definition of gasp in English:

gasp

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Catch one's breath with an open mouth, owing to pain or astonishment.

    ‘a woman gasped in horror at the sight of him’
    • ‘I looked in the direction she pointed and gasped softly in surprise.’
    • ‘The Queen gasped softly in shock as understanding dawned on her.’
    • ‘He nearly gasped audibly when he saw what had been written on the page.’
    • ‘Despite their gloom, the girls gasped in amazement.’
    • ‘Everyone gasped as they caught their first glimpse of the gaping hole in the tower and the billowing smoke.’
    • ‘The two women gasped in delight and clapped their hands.’
    • ‘I gasped slightly in pain and watched him stride away.’
    • ‘His live drum solos, though thankfully brief, used to leave audiences gasping.’
    • ‘A faint scratching could be heard on the other side of the door and each boy gasped in fear.’
    • ‘I looked up and almost gasped in horror.’
    • ‘He gasped softly and opened his mouth several times before quickly recovering himself.’
    • ‘Their hands touched briefly and she almost gasped in shock.’
    • ‘The audience gasped audibly at a few of these.’
    • ‘Slowly opening the box, I almost gasped out loud.’
    • ‘The other men gasped at the sight, and charged at him.’
    • ‘Pain coursed through her body, but she did not have a mouth to gasp in pain with.’
    • ‘She nearly gasped out loud at this insult.’
    • ‘I nearly gasp out loud, one hand flying back to my mouth.’
    • ‘She gasps with the pain of the gun barrel in her ribs.’
    • ‘The crowd gasped in surprise, but soon resumed their incessant cheering.’
    pant, puff, puff and pant, blow, heave, wheeze, breathe hard, breathe heavily, catch one's breath, draw in one's breath, gulp, choke, fight for breath, struggle for air
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Say (something) while catching one's breath.
      ‘Jeremy gasped out an apology’
      with direct speech ‘‘It's beautiful!’ she gasped, much impressed’
      • ‘He ran back, through the cold wind, barely able to gasp his request for a Bible.’
      • ‘Even though his windpipe was nearly crushed, he managed to gasp a single word.’
      • ‘In the early songs it's nothing but pain, but in the sultry love ballads, the hurting man gasps his sigh of relief and release.’
      • ‘"You guys, " she gasped through her laughter.’
      • ‘It's all told in flashback, as MacMurray gasps his story into a dictograph for Robinson to hear the following morning.’
      • ‘Several of the children around me gasped their amazement and I had to agree, it was quite cool.’
      • ‘She tried to gasp an apology, but my hand stopped her lips from moving.’
    2. 1.2gasp for Strain to obtain (air) by gasping.
      ‘she surfaced and gasped for air’
      • ‘The county has been adrift and buffeted since the break-up of the team of the past decade and now they are gasping for air.’
      • ‘My breaths shortened considerably, until I audibly gasped for air.’
      • ‘The child will walk around the house and scream in a panic while gasping for air and sweating.’
      • ‘The rain came down in buckets, but it did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of these oarsmen, whose gasps for air exactly matched the rhythm of the drum as it reverberated along the lake.’
      • ‘Where the movie flops on its back and gasps for air is in its fight sequences, which are so choppily and confusingly staged that I quickly gave up trying to follow 'em.’
      • ‘I completely lose all sense of where I am and begin to panic, gasping for air and taking in large amounts of warm Caribbean sea.’
      • ‘No more sitting on my couch or in my car gasping for air and thinking that I am going to die on the spot.’
      • ‘As the city gasps for fiscal air, it's only fair to be clear that the city's budget difficulties are a result of provincial mendacity and not local mismanagement.’
      • ‘She hit the water with a cold shock, and strained for the surface, gasping for air.’
      • ‘I stood up and tried to gasp for air but couldn't.’
      • ‘She was left so out of breath by the journey on foot that even 20 hours later she was still gasping for air.’
      • ‘Police and firefighters gasped for air as they emerged from the sealed-off area.’
      • ‘He makes the sound of a fish gasping for air, and this is repeated nine or ten times.’
      • ‘Rose finished her speech, gasping slightly for breath, pulling the dressing gown around her further.’
      • ‘She drank it slowly, then gasped again for air.’
      • ‘He limped to the edge of the ring, and there he collapsed in the grass, his flanks heaving as he gasped for air.’
      • ‘I inhaled a lungful of salt water, jerked my head up to choke and gasp for air, then smacked my face back into the water so I could monitor the shark.’
      • ‘When the daughter walked into the front room she saw her mother lying on the floor, unconscious and gasping for air.’
      • ‘On some tracks, in fact, it gets a bit distracting because you can hear him in the background gasping for air.’
      • ‘She landed on her hands and knees and just stayed there, gasping a bit for breath.’
    3. 1.3be gasping forBritish informal Be desperate to obtain or consume; crave.
      ‘I'm gasping for a drink!’
      • ‘After unpacking my sleeping bag, toothbrush and kettle, I was gasping for a cup of tea.’
      • ‘An integral part of the rich Assamese art and culture, which has flabbergasted renowned scholars, this highly skilled art is gasping for survival.’
      • ‘After skiing along spookily quiet floodlit trails, you may be gasping for a pint to wash down your fondue with, but if the price of a pint isn't enough to put you off drinking here, the thought of having to ski back home in the dark may well be.’
      • ‘By the time we got onto the motorway and had found ourselves on familiar ground, I was gasping for coffee and something to eat.’
      • ‘I was gasping for a drink after the long climb up to St Andre.’
      • ‘And the affirmation of life is what we had all been gasping for in an effort to regain the totality of our humanity.’
      • ‘A century from now will we be gasping for water in an increasingly roasting world or huddling around a few burning sticks, struggling to keep at bay the bitter cold of a cosmic winter?’
      • ‘Social discipline has broken down, the economy is gasping for life and people's emotions are being provoked into ever-threatening spirals of discord and violence.’
      • ‘It had the crazed acousti-rock revolution it had been gasping for.’
      • ‘Without a single zinger in the bunch, this comedy is gasping for laughs, and should be relegated to the $2.99 bin very soon.’

noun

  • A convulsive catching of breath.

    ‘his breath was coming in gasps’
    • ‘When I saw what he had been hiding, a startled gasp escaped my lips.’
    • ‘Emily's hand came up to cover her mouth as she stifled a gasp of surprise.’
    • ‘Amid the gasps from the audience, the senators' faces drained of smugness.’
    • ‘I covered my mouth, trying to muffle and stifle my horrified gasp.’
    • ‘Some, including both our witnesses, cursed us between gasps of breath for dragging them up ‘some crazy hill’ on a hot summer's day.’
    • ‘He winced at her startled, horrified gasp and continued.’
    • ‘As he finished saying this, he heard a soft gasp for air, and delayed breathing.’
    • ‘In spite of the collected gasp from the crowd, he took it well.’
    • ‘Then I whipped out my completed hat and there were gasps of astonishment.’
    • ‘Some are still alive, breathing in ragged gasps and blinking slowly.’
    • ‘Her breath was coming in short, ragged gasps.’
    • ‘There was an audible gasp from their audience, and justly so.’
    • ‘His breath came in short gasps as he walked on and on, driven by an insane energy, till he finally reached the riverside.’
    • ‘She let out a small, involuntary gasp of surprise.’
    • ‘With each gasp for breath, the wolves became more and more tired.’
    • ‘As we pulled up in front of the estate, I heard her soft gasp of surprise.’
    • ‘All I could hear was my own breath, coming in gasps.’
    • ‘Her breathing became shallower, short gasps for the air she needed in her lungs.’
    • ‘Without warning, he pulled his adversary's hood down, which drew a collective gasp from the crowd.’
    • ‘His breath was coming out in great ragged gasps and for a second she thought she was having an asthma attack.’
    pant, puff, blow, breath, inhalation, inspiration, drawing in of breath, choke, gulp, gulp of air
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • one's (or the) last gasp

    • The point of exhaustion, death, or completion.

      ‘the last gasp of the Cold War’
      • ‘From the moment we leave our mother's body at birth to our last gasp on our deathbed, we need air every minute.’
      • ‘This is a dispute so absurd it scarcely seems worth arguing, the last gasp of exclusionary privilege that began its death rattle in 1990.’
      • ‘But I don't want the already struggling non-corporate bookstores to give up their last gasp.’
      • ‘They're on their last gasp or they've been decimated.’
      • ‘The truth is, her last gasp of enthusiasm is behind her, and she's ready to admit that she'd rather be three years younger and sitting in the dark of a movie theater in a Connecticut suburb than in an orange grove overlooking the city of Rome.’
      • ‘The 1950s was the last gasp for Victorian ways of life - and I know, I had to survive the Fifties!’
      • ‘He materialised in front of the goal in the fading moments to snatch a last - gasp leveller.’
      • ‘I was with him at his last gasp and kissed him on the forehead.’
      • ‘This is the last gasp, and last gasps have a way of imploding in a vaingloriously spectacular way, as though their protagonists knew they were going to go down - they just wanted to go down in style.’
      • ‘Optimism was briefly restored when he scored his dramatic last-gasp goal to take the team into yet another cliffhanger.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old Norse geispa ‘to yawn’.

Pronunciation

gasp

/ɡɑːsp/