Definition of gamut in US English:



  • 1The complete range or scope of something.

    ‘the whole gamut of human emotion’
    • ‘Students, it seems, are getting too busy to, well, be students, when we consider that word as gesturing toward the whole gamut of traditional student experiences.’
    • ‘When you examine the gamut of social activities humans engage in, from sports to competitions for attention, it does indeed seem that humans are not able to rise above a competitive mindset.’
    • ‘Apart from the damage to business, the focus will range from the drive to bring down the cost of motor insurance to the whole gamut of how insurance problems affects every sector of the community.’
    • ‘This underlines the new Government's commitment to a whole gamut of policies that would take care of agriculture and the concerns of farmers as well as other poorer and weaker sections.’
    • ‘Anger, jealousy, possessiveness, suspicion, aggression - Harry experiences a whole gamut of human emotions, but seems to able to control them much better that he did in The Phoenix.’
    • ‘‘These are highly selective patients who have been through the whole gamut of drugs and this therapy gives them an alternative to getting worse - it gives people a lifeline,’ he said.’
    • ‘In Russian there is a much kinder word, you simply say ‘not beautiful’, ‘unbeautiful’ and that leaves you with the whole gamut of unbeautiful, from hideous to rather plain.’
    • ‘The full gamut of human misbehaviour, you'll learn, ranges from crudely hilarious to profoundly disturbing.’
    • ‘The dishes covered the gamut of culinary endeavour from Guinness-and-lamb stew to salmon with tandoori spices.’
    • ‘Santiago being a pilgrimage town, I fully expect there to be the whole gamut of Catholic tat merchandise: illuminated Pope busts, candles shaped like burning pyres, replicas of fragments of the true cross, and so on and so forth.’
    • ‘He intends to meet residents to find out what their priorities are, then hopes to apply to a whole gamut of funding initiatives including the National Lottery money, Education Action Zone cash, New Deal for Communities money and others.’
    • ‘These stories take you on an exciting journey, and you traverse a whole gamut of human experience and emotions that reflect the changing Tamil milieu.’
    • ‘At which level do we start to form various cognitive types that reflect the gamut of human potential?’
    • ‘Her face could register the gamut of human emotions without ever fully revealing her inner nature.’
    • ‘Various options were put up for reflection covering the whole gamut from doing nothing at all to farming the market out to the edge of the town and many other ideas in between including making the High Street pedestrians only.’
    • ‘He covers the gamut of aesthetic surgery, from the initial consultation through postoperative recovery.’
    • ‘An agenda that can countervail the one-line simple answers of said ‘conservatives’ that encompass the whole gamut of public policy.’
    • ‘We're here to offer advice across the whole gamut of financial services.’
    • ‘The opinions ranged the gamut, from panic to indifference, many with steadfastness and underlying optimism.’
    • ‘She also recommends researching the publishers who would be suitable, since publishing houses run the whole gamut from highly specialized to general houses to the academic university presses.’
    range, spectrum, span, sweep, compass, scope, area, breadth, width, reach, extent, catalogue, scale, sequence, series
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  • 2Music
    A complete scale of musical notes; the compass or range of a voice or instrument.

    • ‘A strong keyboard technique is called for, with high priority on the ability to vary tonal color to suggest the full orchestral gamut.’
    • ‘The older corpus tended to treat E and B as notes of secondary importance, but later chants frequently contain passages that use all notes of the gamut equally freely; they also appear to emphasize interlocking chains of 3rds.’
    1. 2.1historical A scale consisting of seven overlapping hexachords, containing all the recognized notes used in medieval music, covering almost three octaves from bass G to treble E.
      • ‘The corresponding framework for medieval music is the diatonic gamut from G2 to E5, with B-flat3 and B-flat4.’
    2. 2.2historical The lowest note in the gamut scale.
      • ‘Part-music of this period tends to employ the alto-baritone range of pitches, and the usual tuning of this harp began at GG - the gamut, by convention the lowest note in vocal music.’


  • run the gamut

    • Experience, display, or perform the complete range of something.

      ‘wines that run the gamut from dry to sweet’
      • ‘Her performance runs the gamut from physical perfection to emotional exhaustion and she never falters.’
      • ‘This compilation offers a wide range of genres, running the gamut from garage rock through funk, new wave and electroclash to atmospheric rock, and even mellow jazz.’
      • ‘The food runs the gamut from solid and reliable to off the beaten path and utterly charming.’
      • ‘They run the gamut from callousness and cruelty to kindness and sorrow, with contrasting qualities often converging in the same incident or person.’
      • ‘The conference planners negotiate special rates at a large number of area hotels that run the gamut of price ranges, and some very special deals are available.’
      • ‘In scheduling enough content to run the gamut of women's experiences, the festival has performed a balancing act.’
      • ‘Attendees' experiences ran the gamut from the leaps and gyrations in a fast-moving Dalcroze session to the thoughtful poignancy of an elder-education study and the stimulation of hearing about the latest brain research.’
      • ‘The media's preoccupation with body size runs the gamut from teen magazines to tabloids, the glossies and, yes, even broadsheets which should know better.’
      • ‘As always, the performances run the gamut from pricey indoor shows to the multitude of free shows outdoors.’
      • ‘The vehicles on display ran the gamut of design and fit and finish.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin gamma ut, originally the name of the lowest note in the medieval scale (bass G an octave and a half below middle C), then applied to the whole range of notes used in medieval music. The Greek letter Γ (gamma) was used for bass G, with ut indicating that it was the first note in the lowest of the hexachords or six-note scales (see solmization).