Definition of gauge in English:


(US gage)


  • 1An instrument that measures and gives a visual display of the amount, level, or contents of something.

    ‘a fuel gauge’
    • ‘The Environment Agency's rain level gauges around the region confirmed the intensity of the downpour.’
    • ‘Early in the session, both market gauges hit their highest levels since June 3, 2002.’
    • ‘On a desktop computer in the debrief room, you can display flight instruments, gauges, flight paths, and tactical plots.’
    • ‘He was still travelling at a reckless speed, but he didn't dare slow down as the needle on the fuel gauge had dropped to the lowest possible level.’
    • ‘He also checked the two visual fuel gauges on the left forward face of the bomb bay bulkhead behind the flight deck.’
    • ‘This type of blower door has several gauges that measure the amount of air pulled out of the house by the fan.’
    • ‘Two displacement gauges are installed at the opposite side of the plate, which is averaged to determine the ground displacement.’
    • ‘Historically, pressure has been measured with gauges that monitor the displacement of a mechanical element.’
    • ‘They even added educational features, such as exposed equipment gauges and meters, so students could track the amount of energy the school is saving.’
    • ‘The fuel gauges indicated between 180 and 190 pounds per side as we cleared the active runway.’
    • ‘Its new electric utility vehicle features a fuel gauge that displays the current level of battery power.’
    • ‘It includes a four-cup drink holder, center storage basket, low oil and fuel gauges or a state-of-charge meter.’
    • ‘Above ground, computerized gauges monitor soil settlement to aid with the grouting operations.’
    • ‘When I made an instrument approach, the fuel gauge was on empty.’
    • ‘To that end, manufacturers continue to refine the location of switches, gauges, and display panels so the operator can see them quickly and easily.’
    • ‘The gauge automatically holds and displays the exact weight and will provide you with an average of up to 10 readings.’
    • ‘On some equipment, a visual sight glass or gauge shows fluid levels without opening the system, while on others a dipstick or other manual measuring device is used.’
    • ‘I scanned the engine instruments and hydraulic gauges and was relieved to find normal indications.’
    • ‘What is required is a coordinated international system of pressure sensors and water level gauges linked by reliable communications to a centre for the rapid processing, analysis and release of alerts.’
    • ‘Your eyes are riveted to the fuel and engine gauges - flow meter, mixture, tachometer, manifold pressure.’
    measuring instrument, measuring device, meter, measure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A tool for checking whether something conforms to a desired dimension.
      ‘mark out the details of the angled surfaces with a knife and gauge’
      • ‘She opens the lid to display an array of instruments and enthusiastically picks out a tool gauge and micrometer.’
      • ‘This required both the design of unprecedented machines and machine tools, and a radical redesign of gauges which could pass good parts at the required microlevel of accuracy.’
      • ‘If you're using a multisize pattern, mark accurate stitching lines on the tissue using a seam gauge and fine-point pen.’
      • ‘They had been using feeler and plug gages to check the center discs that are stamped for the steel auto wheels it produces; there are 40 disc variations in production.’
      • ‘Jointer gauges are not particularly rare tools.’
    2. 1.2 A means of estimating something.
      ‘emigration is perhaps the best gauge of public unease’
      • ‘While focus groups do not provide a representative sample, they do offer a gauge of general attitudes.’
      • ‘A study addresses how economic status is no longer a sufficient gauge of a nation's well-being.’
      • ‘You know, sometimes the police ask questions when they know the answers because that's giving you a gauge of what kind of person you're dealing with.’
      • ‘I always felt that I had a good gauge of what the market prices were and such.’
      • ‘He has his own gauge of whether his dishes work or not.’
      • ‘It gives you a visual gauge on your cycle breathing, with a few bits and pieces.’
      • ‘End-systolic dimension is another helpful gauge in determining the need for surgery.’
      • ‘But given the political progress, that should not necessarily be considered an accurate gauge of the enemy's future.’
      • ‘If so, do you check the motor vehicle driving record of power boat operators as a gauge of their driving habits?’
      • ‘The inclination to see wealth as a gauge of human worth goes back a long way.’
      • ‘Lists have become an all-pervading gauge of how we categorise and celebrate the achievements of that particular tribe of mankind who have chosen to live in the public eye.’
      • ‘What I do have problems with is having to change my counter so I can get an accurate gauge of things.’
      • ‘It's the newest gauge of how vigilant a parent you are.’
      • ‘Many teachers argue the national tests are not a proper gauge of whether children can read or write and many who ‘fail’ are literate.’
      • ‘But to measure a language by its literature is not necessarily an accurate gauge of its health at street-level.’
      • ‘Existing rateable values - a gauge of rental values - are based on a snapshot of the economy in 1993.’
      • ‘Cindy… if you're using me as a reality gauge you need urgent medical help.’
      • ‘It's still a great gauge of an artist's popularity, and it tells the business world that the record company is doing things right.’
      • ‘To him the gauge of ‘rightness’ is inclusion in and support by the major and calcified institutions to which Trudeau has been admitted.’
      • ‘These entropic effects are necessary for calculating free energies, which are the true gauges of conformational stability at equilibrium.’
      measure, indicator, barometer, basis, standard, point of reference, guide, guideline, touchstone, yardstick, benchmark, criterion, example, model, pattern, formula, exemplar, sample, test, litmus test
      View synonyms
  • 2The thickness, size, or capacity of something, especially as a standard measure.

    • ‘To judge the quality of a tufted carpet, look at both the number of stitches per inch and the gauge.’
    • ‘Other popular fabrics for the season include corduroy, but in a finer gauge than was worn during the autumn and winter, and very fine woollens and knitwear.’
    • ‘A rough analogy: using a net of a certain gauge will fail to catch fish of a certain size, but these uncaught ones are not a definite category of fish.’
    • ‘If you get a good tent, it's 60 gauges, about 130 pounds, it can take care of a family of five to seven throughout the winter, and you can have some items inside the tent that will keep the family warm.’
    • ‘Silk chiffon and fine gauge were paraded alongside high-ribbed cashmere sweaters in contrasting colours.’
    size, measure, extent, degree, scope, capacity, magnitude
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 The diameter of a wire, fibre, tube, etc.
      as modifier ‘a fine 0.018-inch gauge wire’
      • ‘Nine gauge or thicker wire is best, which we cut in five to six foot lengths.’
      • ‘Be sure to use the proper gauge wiring in extension cords.’
      • ‘They are not made with the thinner gauge wire which can be easily damaged and bent.’
      • ‘They are constructed of welded 12 gauge galvanized steel wire, low in maintenance and easy to put up.’
      • ‘Most people tend to ignore tensile strength and concentrate more on the gauge and diameter - but they shouldn't.’
      • ‘The leads are introduced into the patient's muscles via a small gauge hollow-bore needle.’
      • ‘Use a one millilitre syringe and as fine a needle you can get - I use a 25 gauge but these may not be easily available.’
      • ‘Stomachs were pumped in the field with a 10 cc syringe fitted with 18 - gauge rubber tubing.’
      • ‘Weekly blood samples were taken from the brachial vein using a 26.5 gauge needle and heparinized microcapillary tubes.’
      • ‘These wires appear to be regularly intersected and perhaps also supported by wire of a lighter gauge suspended from above.’
      • ‘Ideally, the smallest gauge needle, usually 25 to 30, should be used to inject all anesthetics.’
      • ‘In a totally unscientific test I poked myself with an 18 gauge needle.’
      • ‘The hepatic portal vein was cannulated with an appropriate gauge catheter and the superior vena cava and inferior vena cava (superior to the kidney) were both cut.’
      • ‘In one case, 10 - gauge aluminum wire was used to tie rebar together.’
      • ‘First I have to select the proper gauge rope, and then I weave the net in a particular pattern to ensure that it has the proper balance of strength and flexibility.’
      • ‘Of course we would like it because it was part of the No.8 gauge galvanised iron wire that was used in the original overland telegraph line.’
      • ‘The resulting designs usually used the same gauge wiring on the neutral as on the supply.’
      • ‘Use 28 - gauge copper and gold-colored wire to string the beads.’
      • ‘We use 16 - gauge aluminum wire, as it is easy to bend and produces a light sculpture.’
      • ‘Test for sensation in the affected areas using a fine gauge needle.’
    2. 2.2in combination A measure of the diameter of a gun barrel, or of its ammunition, expressed as the number of spherical pieces of shot of the same diameter as the barrel that can be made from 1 lb (454 g) of lead.
      as modifier ‘a 12-gauge shotgun’
      • ‘Some of his deep throws died like a duck hit with a bullet from a 12 - gauge shotgun.’
      • ‘It can manage any bore size from .22 to 10 gauge and barrels up to 30 inches long.’
      • ‘Most shooters described it as similar to a 12 - gauge shotgun.’
      • ‘Evidence of this has been recovered from the wrecks of the San Juan de Sicilia in Tobermory Bay and La Trinidad Valencera in the form of gunners' rules and shot gauges.’
      • ‘This is a luxury the tank provides, a fine opportunity to use a lighter gauge for closer shots.’
      • ‘These targets malfunctioned on at least two stages, especially with 20 gauge ammo, leading to concern about equitable scoring.’
      • ‘The thickness of those seven pages is approximately equal to the constriction of a modified choke in a 12 - gauge barrel.’
      • ‘In the loft they found a sawn-off, single-barrel 12 - gauge shotgun, a cartridge belt and a number of cartridges which were compatible with the gun.’
      • ‘In whatever vehicle he was driving, a double-barreled, 12 - gauge shotgun resided somewhere near at hand.’
      • ‘She said he did not have a permit for any of the weapons he was carrying: a semiautomatic assault rifle, a 12 - gauge shotgun and a pistol.’
      • ‘When I began hunting, there were a lot of 16 - gauge shotguns around.’
      • ‘At the other end of the spectrum is the mundane 12 - gauge pump shotgun.’
      • ‘Adapters and wads are available for most handgun and rifle calibers, and 12 - gauge shotguns.’
      • ‘There's nothing more fun than a good, lively debate about shotgun gauges.’
      • ‘A 12 - gauge shotgun firing bean bags, or small sacks filled with sand, suffered the same defect.’
      • ‘The future should include an increasing variety of gauges, barrel lengths and sport-specific models.’
      • ‘They both had automatic 12 - gauge shotguns, and I'm going to say that each one was carrying a satchel filled with four boxes of ammo.’
      • ‘He said he saw a bandoleer, which held 12 - gauge shotgun shells, but no guns.’
      • ‘For example, suppose you accidentally loaded a 20-gauge shell into a 12 - gauge shotgun.’
      • ‘Reaching for the riding crop and the 12 gauge, I check the oiling.’
      bore, diameter
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3in combination The thickness of sheet metal or plastic.
      as modifier ‘500-gauge polythene’
      • ‘Self-tapping screws have a special point that resembles a drill bit and are capable of cutting their own pilot hole in light gauge sheet metal.’
      • ‘Where necessary, 2x1 planed timber will be used for supporting the polythene, and in all cases only 1000 gauge polythene will be used.’
      • ‘Heavy gauge sheet materials are used by a variety of industries for a myriad of products.’
      • ‘The slats of this blind are made from several different gauges of aluminum.’
      • ‘Tension specimens, gage length 25 by 10 mm, were cut along the rolling direction from the following 1.2 mm sheet aluminum alloys.’
      • ‘Sheetmetal comes in different thicknesses, from 16 gauge to 30 gauge, with lower numbers being thicker.’
      • ‘As each student completed a satisfactory drawing on paper, he or she cut it out and taped it onto a piece of 36 - gauge aluminum foil.’
    4. 2.4 The distance between the rails of a line of railway track.
      ‘the line was laid to a gauge of 2 ft 9 ins’
      • ‘The book ranges over countless topics, from the share market to academia to rail gauges.’
      • ‘It is the gauge used by almost every railway in North America, but this wasn't always the case.’
      • ‘While on the Australian federal system, I could also mention that Australia uses three different incompatible railway gauges, and the only states that use the same gauge as each other have no common borders.’
      • ‘The colonies built their lines with different gauges.’
      • ‘Most notoriously, the colonies built rail systems with different track gauges.’
      • ‘Multiple currencies are as sensible as different rail gauges and different power sockets - they are an anachronistic inconvenience and costly.’
      • ‘Because of different rail gauges, sometimes freight had to be unloaded and then reloaded on boxcars.’
      • ‘The dual gauge rail loop will give trains from regional areas direct access to North Quay in the inner harbour.’
      • ‘They made their rail gauge 5 feet, as opposed to the usual 4 feet 8 ½ inches used by Germany.’
      • ‘In Japan they built their Shinkansen lines to a different gauge from the rest of the network precisely because it made it impossible for other types of trains to use it.’
      • ‘You couldn't get on the one train and catch that same train all the way round Australia because of different rail gauges.’
      • ‘To slow them down they built their tracks using a wider gauge.’
      • ‘It owns and runs a miniature railway that has a five-inch gauge track 1,605 ft long.’
      • ‘The angular transducer data are used for the assessment of the track gauge and to determine the trolley wobble between the rails.’
      • ‘What was even more striking was that seven had never seen ‘a railway’ though a metre gauge line runs through the district for almost 1000 miles.’
      • ‘Alternatively, we could work with a narrower gauge track for the meantime and upgrade the line as need be.’
      • ‘Narrow Gauge is a description of a railway's track gauge.’
      • ‘The gauge on the railways are all different, so that you can't travel any distance by train without having to change.’
      • ‘It cannot manufacture for export because of different gauges used in railways abroad.’
      • ‘Incidentally, the references to the Australian system are to the way its (state-run) railways ended up with three separate track gauges.’
  • 3Nautical
    archaic The position of a sailing ship to windward (the weather gage) or leeward (the lee gage) of another.

    ‘the French fleet was heavily outnumbered but had the weather gage’
    • ‘A ship sought weather gage of its enemy, so that it had freedom of maneuver, and could close if it wished.’


[with object]
  • 1Estimate or determine the amount, level, or volume of.

    ‘astronomers can gauge the star's intrinsic brightness’
    • ‘Researchers also recorded the subjects' body mass index - a measure used to gauge obesity.’
    • ‘What's the best way then to measure particle pollution so that we can gauge the full impact of diesel exhaust?’
    • ‘Targeted mostly at men, the program gauges fat loss through waist measurement, not weight, and encourages lifestyle changes, such as eating differently and exercising more.’
    • ‘A measure of the popularity of this district can be gauged by the bookings.’
    • ‘This approach of measuring user performance helps us gauge the quality of our improvements through successive rounds of refinement of the architecture.’
    • ‘You can only gauge how well any tool works by putting it into action.’
    • ‘How do we measure democracy or gauge our transformation over the last ten years?’
    • ‘That portrait paradigm measured an image's accuracy by gauging its success in representing the precise topography of its subject's face.’
    • ‘The enzyme's angular torque profile under load can be gauged by measuring the average curvature and the stochastic fluctuations of actin filaments.’
    • ‘They attempted to gauge sediment deposits over that period by measuring core-layer fluctuations in the ratio of barium to calcium.’
    • ‘While the report speaks glowingly about the positive economic spinoffs of a healthy arts community, measuring a city's culture isn't the same as gauging the impact of, say, its manufacturing sector.’
    • ‘When taken together, these two measurements can help people who engage in addictive behaviors gauge their progression into addiction.’
    • ‘The correlation between size - as measured by fanbase - and stature - as gauged by success - used to be universal.’
    • ‘The consultation process is part of a Government exercise to gauge public support for a directly elected regional assembly for Yorkshire and the Humber.’
    • ‘The researchers relied on a measure known as body mass index to gauge obesity.’
    • ‘To gauge the right quantity of the stabilizer, consult the instructions on its can.’
    • ‘Radar gun readings gauge the raw ability of pitchers, but no such measure exists for hitters.’
    • ‘Doctors are now better at using indirect measures to gauge pain and the effectiveness of treatment, and self controlled analgesia and epidural anaesthesia have been adapted for use in children.’
    • ‘The length of his contract is measured in years, but his popularity and competence are gauged from game to game, on a sliding scale that depends largely on what hot coaches are on the market.’
    • ‘The researchers note that their study only measured eye movement, and did not directly gauge a driver's concentration or attention.’
    compute, calculate, work out
    measure, calculate, compute, work out, determine, ascertain
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Judge or assess (a situation, mood, etc.)
      ‘she was unable to gauge his mood’
      • ‘The toughest part of their work is the futility of using quantitative measurements to gauge performance.’
      • ‘Usually she could gauge his moods but this was an extreme situation.’
      • ‘Under that model, teachers, students, and schools are gauged by how their test scores measure up.’
      • ‘They sat gauging the situation by their mother's expression.’
      • ‘But as an election is less than a year away, most political activists will prefer to save their energies for gauging public mood and speculation about who will be bed down politically with whom thereafter.’
      • ‘The measure of what I say can be gauged from our treatment of our emigrants.’
      • ‘Whips try to gauge the mood of members, assess how they will express their unhappiness with party policies, and cajole, bully, or conciliate the potential dissident.’
      • ‘It's also a valuable and necessary means of measuring the facility department's performance and gauging areas where improvement may be needed.’
      • ‘The big decisions can wait until the summer after he has had a chance to gauge the situation.’
      • ‘I had now learned to gauge her emotional moods like a seismologist reads a Richter scale.’
      • ‘These types really reflect different ways of gauging the validity of a measure of a concept.’
      • ‘Not in recent memory has it been so difficult to gauge the prospects for going public, but a veteran entrepreneur helps clear things up.’
      • ‘It looks as if our ‘leaders’ are listening to the poor, that they are using the opportunity provided by electioneering to gauge the public mood.’
      • ‘Since then sociologists and pollsters have returned periodically to gauge the mood of Middle America.’
      • ‘No longer, then, do we call upon the great books or teachings of western culture to measure our words or gauge our actions.’
      • ‘By what measures do you gauge your endorsement?’
      • ‘It wasn't just the rain that made me less than enthusiastic as I listened to the speeches and tried to gauge the mood around me.’
      • ‘Armed with information he could gauge the situation, perhaps simply buying cheap or, more subtly, offering new violins for old.’
      • ‘In the end the party was a success, and I gauge that on a few measures.’
      • ‘Leaders should then take the process one step further by setting specific goals - the measures for gauging whether or not they're getting close to fulfilling their mission.’
      assess, evaluate, appraise, analyse, weigh up, get the measure of, judge, adjudge, rate, reckon, determine, estimate, guess
      View synonyms
  • 2Measure the dimensions of (an object) with a gauge.

    ‘when dry the assemblies can be gauged exactly’
    • ‘It had 400 full-time people working in the water and soil division, gauging the rivers and measuring the flows.’
    • ‘Wendy pulled out a tape measure and gauged the distance between the side of the dryer and the wall.’
    • ‘The machine gauges the coin's weight and dimensions very quickly.’
    • ‘It isn't a tangible quantity; it can't be measured or gauged.’
    • ‘We looked for a scale or some measuring instrument and eventually found a makeshift stick to gauge the quantity left.’
    measure, calculate, compute, work out, determine, ascertain
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1as adjective gauged Made in standard dimensions.
      ‘gauged sets of strings’
      • ‘Covered in gauged green slate tiles, the garage has the look of a built-in.’
      • ‘For the firebox and hearth, we selected African Prairie Slate, a richly patterned stone that is sold in gauged (evenly thick) 12-inch squares.’


Middle English (denoting a standard measure): from Old French gauge (noun), gauger (verb), variant of Old Northern French jauge (noun), jauger (verb), of unknown origin.