Definition of gargle in US English:



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  • Wash one's mouth and throat with a liquid kept in motion by exhaling through it.

    ‘instruct patients to gargle with warm water’
    • ‘Any suggestions for cures - other than my granny's surreal faith in gargling with salt-water, which she seems to believe will heal everything from coughing to pancreatic cancer - gratefully received.’
    • ‘Traditionally patients are advised to gargle with saline, often with the addition of sodium bicarbonate.’
    • ‘After lunch I felt so bad I dissolved some aspirin in warm water, gargled noisily and swallowed gratefully.’
    • ‘After I gargled and rinsed my mouth I left the bathroom, wiping my hands dry on my way out.’
    • ‘As you know, he used to gargle with hot water before he gave a speech or went on television.’
    • ‘Self-help measures for a sore throat include gargling with salt water or sucking on throat lozenges.’
    • ‘The doctor may recommend rinsing or gargling with salt water.’
    • ‘Children who are old enough to gargle can try gargling with either double-strength tea or warm, salty water.’
    • ‘This can be used to gargle, rinse the mouth, or take internally to treat sore throats and toothache.’
    • ‘He instructs patients to gargle and swallow or spit out (depending on location of the lesions) 5 to 10 mL at least five times daily until lesions resolve.’
    • ‘Hot showers, a humidifier, and gargling with warm saltwater aid drainage, shrink inflamed membranes and soothe sore-throat pain.’
    • ‘I always shaved, shined my shoes, put on a suit, necktie, and white shirt, slicked back my hair, and gargled with some burning liquid.’
    • ‘Because when you do gargle with that, you see all that stuff coming out.’
    • ‘In Malaysia, the ripe fruits were infused with water, then gargled for a sore throat.’
    • ‘He loved to pull pranks, like pulling a rubber glove over his head, or gargling with hydrogen peroxide to make his tongue turn white, or laying out pixie stick powder in lines and snorting it.’
    • ‘For example, someone with a sore throat should gargle with salt water.’
    • ‘At the first sign of a sore throat start gargling!’
    • ‘For throat infections, try gargling with a tea made from eucalyptus leaves, and then drinking a second cup.’
    • ‘Consumption of garlic, onions, spicy foods, aromatic cheeses and alcohol can produce this transient odour irrespective of brushing, flossing or gargling.’


  • 1An act or instance or the sound of gargling.

    ‘a swig and gargle of mouthwash’
    • ‘She heard her make a noise that was like a cross between a shriek and a gargle.’
    • ‘The muted, standard exhaust is now more of a burbling gargle with undertones of thunder.’
    • ‘Alcohol-based throat sprays and gargles can minimize bacteria and irritation, but Jones warns that such products may be harmful with prolonged use.’
    • ‘The sound coming from the other end of the line was such a gargle of noise that she wasn't sure if Dominic was growling or groaning in exasperation.’
    • ‘The translator turned the human language to gargles and scratches.’
    • ‘Although the film boasts little dialogue, the sound effects are vital to the film's comic timing - where would we be without that desperate gargle of the fish fountain?’
    • ‘Darius opened and closed his mouth several times, but the only noise that came out was a shocked gargle.’
    • ‘So I bought some, mixed 20 ml with water and went for a good long gargle.’
    • ‘Myrrh resins and tinctures have also been used as a gargle and mouthwash, made by steeping one teaspoon of myrrh in one pint of boiling water for a few minutes, to treat gum infections, coughs and other chest problems.’
    • ‘Howard tried to speak but all that came out was an inarticulate, squeaky gargle.’
    • ‘It uttered another stream of noise, this time something between a gargle and a roar.’
    • ‘The usual song is a cacophony of gargles, chitters and squawks.’
    1. 1.1usually in singular A liquid used for gargling.
      • ‘Take honey on its own or make a gargle by mixing two tablespoons of set honey with four tablespoons of cider vinegar and a pinch of salt.’
      • ‘Mixed with water it can be employed as a shampoo, a gargle, or for nasal administration (nasya).’
      • ‘Massage oils, poultices, steam inhalations, sitz, hand, body and foot baths, gargles and room sprays are the most common methods of administration.’
      • ‘It is important not to swallow an aspirin gargle when taking other medicines.’
      • ‘Until you're feeling better, salt-water gargles, throat lozenges or hot water with honey and lemon can help make having a sore throat easier to swallow.’
      • ‘Sore throats, irritated gums and oral sores can be soothed by a gargle or mouthwash of strong sage tea.’
      • ‘The infusion of the leaves is a gargle for sore throat.’
      • ‘Local anesthesia is applied to the nasal, oral, and laryngeal mucosa by either an atomizer, gargle, nose drops, or pledget.’
      • ‘They can come in a wide range of formulations - including syrups, tinctures, lotions, inhalations, gargles and washes.’
      • ‘Still, it's better than the salt-water gargle many people recommend for sore throats.’
      • ‘The GSE liquid can be used in sprays for skin and feet, on your toothbrush, as a gargle and even added to questionable drinking water when traveling.’
      • ‘Heating throat compresses in combination with salt-water gargles are two effective hydrotherapies indicated for pharyngitis and lymphadenopathy.’
      • ‘It was an important healing agent - the aspirin of its day - and was particularly useful as a rinse or gargle when mixed with water and vinegar.’
      • ‘I give them general advice on how to manage it, you know painkillers and gargles, and then I'll explain it'll cure itself.’


Early 16th century: from French gargouiller ‘gurgle, bubble’, from gargouille ‘throat’ (see gargoyle).