Definition of gouge in US English:



  • 1A chisel with a concave blade, used in carpentry, sculpture, and surgery.

    • ‘Using the V gouge, carve a different texture or pattern into each triangle.’
    • ‘Eighteenth-century tools are very hard to come by, presumably because over the years they have been sharpened into oblivion, so most of Webb's gouges date to the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘The new find consists of six axes, two knives (one with textile remains, perhaps from a sack), two different gouges and a broken hammer.’
    • ‘I demonstrated using the gouge to go over the line drawing on the linoleum's surface.’
    • ‘The hoard contained a gold tress-ring, a gold bracelet, two bronze axes, a knife, a gouge, and a stud.’
    • ‘A pod auger requires a starting hole which usually is made with a gouge or chisel.’
    • ‘Last weekend 22 cyclists suffered head injuries or had gouges taken out of their helmets by the same bird.’
    • ‘A chisel, two gouges, jewelers' shears, and the plane blade were made in Sheffield.’
    • ‘Hold the nib holder just like you would a pen and push the V gouge along the line.’
    • ‘The students are cautioned to cut away from themselves because the gouge blades are sharp.’
  • 2An indentation or groove made by gouging.

    • ‘Regular inspection helps workers to screen for equipment that may have been weakened by corrosion, leakage, pitting, dents or gouges.’
    • ‘The patterns were created by bullet-size gouges that recurred as border designs.’
    • ‘If the problem is just a few small dings and gouges, these can be quickly prepared with some wood putty.’
    • ‘Fortunately, the gouge was in an area covered by a sofa, but you do not want to start arranging your furniture according to your gouges.’
    • ‘The back of each panel has been scarred with numerous deep gouges where screws were used to attach the paintings to the walls of the cabin.’
    • ‘Smooth gouges had been made in the floor, cut clean by some immeasurably fine blade in geometric patterns across the lobby floor.’
    • ‘The guards were hammering at a closed door, their weapons taking gouges from the painted wood.’
    • ‘Sand to remove any remaining finish and all scratches, gouges, and cuts.’
    • ‘The knife in my hands slipped when the wagon hit a rut, nicking a rogue gouge from the piece of wood I was absently whittling down to a toothpick.’
    • ‘If you will be topping an existing laminate counter, repair any gouges or loose edges and be sure the existing laminate is glued firmly.’
    • ‘Some days later he discovered a deep gouge in the paintwork of his car.’
    • ‘They destroy everything in their path and leave deep gouges in the ocean floor.’
    • ‘I think the last time I tried shaving with blades I left large gouges in my neck.’
    • ‘With these helpful wood floor repair tips you won't have to cover scratches or gouges with pieces of furniture or area rugs.’
    • ‘By the end of the trip, you'll recognize the gouges clawed by a black bear climbing a tree, and know where to look for the timeworn autographs of lonely shepherds.’
    • ‘Do not turn the edger on if the disk is sitting directly on the floor, because you will loose control of the machine and it will leave gouges in your floor.’
    • ‘Then came re-tiling and painting to replace the gouges made in the walls when the old pipes were torn out.’
    • ‘Old carpet samples or large pieces of cardboard are great for sliding appliances out of position, while at the same time, protecting the floor from gouges or scratches.’
    • ‘As the hours passed, Emily occupied herself by taking mental notes of the objects around her: a wooden table with four thick legs, full of scratches and gouges, sat four feet away.’
    • ‘Most of the nicks, scuffs and gouges that currently mar the work are a result of human carelessness, such as carts and chairs banging into the walls.’
    furrow, channel, trench, trough, canal, gouge, hollow, indentation, rut, gutter, cutting, cut, score, fissure, seam
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[with object]
  • 1Make (a groove, hole, or indentation) with or as if with a gouge.

    ‘the channel had been gouged out by the ebbing water’
    • ‘The bullet had gone through, gouging a ragged hole through the muscle, but missing the bone.’
    • ‘For instance, on March 23, a group went to the town of Rantis and worked for hours to fill two trenches that the army had gouged out of the road to isolate the town.’
    • ‘When the skies open up over the desert, watercourses alter, rivers gouge out deep channels and tracks, roads break up, trees are uprooted and our dramatic countryside changes yet again.’
    • ‘But there were the hoof marks, llama droppings, and thin hard lines like bike tracks gouged into the clay by iron-bound wheels.’
    • ‘There were sleigh tracks gouged into the earth, coming very close to the house… it looked like the sleigh had very nearly plowed into the verandah, said Martin.’
    • ‘Witnesses said the blast gouged a hole in the ground and propelled the car about 30 ft.’
    • ‘A musket ball whined past my ear and gouged a furrow in the trunk of a tree.’
    • ‘When I tripped, I had fallen onto a sharp stone, and it had effectively gouged a considerable hole in both my jeans and my knee.’
    • ‘The Romans reputedly forded the river a few miles east of Mr Boanas' history-making attempt, but the river is believed to have been marshland then, and without the deep channels gouged out by modern shipping.’
    • ‘The channel gouged out for the river is about 20 feet deep and flanked by high concrete walls or earth embankments.’
    • ‘The blades of wind gouged large gashes in the tree, but the tree didn't crumple or fall.’
    • ‘Huge chunks were gouged out of neighbouring tower blocks.’
    • ‘At the rear of the craft struts integral to the ship's docking facilities were bent and crumpled as it hit stern-first, gouging a huge rut through the earth.’
    • ‘The gravel began to gouge holes in the hard rubber tires of the trucks, and the bumpier rides that resulted led to an increase in the number of mechanical breakdowns.’
    • ‘Last year I was daft enough to get the guy to help me with the counter top and the clumsy fellow managed to gouge a great chunk out of the kitchen wall.’
    • ‘In the last six years the mob has caused over £4,000 of damage to the woman's car, including jumping up and down on the bonnet, gouging around the lock, slashing the tyres and bashing in the door.’
    • ‘The big storm last week caused some damage, especially near Coles Corner, where the giant waves gouged a hole in the sea wall and washed out some of the pavement.’
    • ‘After scooting laboriously out of the surf an hour earlier, the turtle had lurched slowly up the sand to this spot where she used her dinner-plate sized rear flippers to gouge a hole deep enough to swallow a man's arm.’
    • ‘When the M63 motorway was constructed, gravel was extracted from this site and gouged out huge holes.’
    scoop out, burrow, burrow out, hollow out, excavate
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    1. 1.1 Make a rough hole or indentation in (a surface), especially so as to mar or disfigure it.
      ‘he had wielded the blade inexpertly, gouging the grass in several places’
      • ‘The writing surface in front of her is gouged from thirty years of insolence and boredom at the hands of the hostile day students.’
      • ‘Whenever operating any power sander, engage and disengage the machine from the material being sanded while the belt or disk is still in motion to avoid gouging the wood.’
      • ‘Scratch and gouge both sides of the purse.’
      • ‘You might want to file the corners a little on metal blades to avoid gouging the wood.’
      • ‘The presence of asphalt would indicate that the right rear rim gouged the pavement during an accident.’
      • ‘Wood floors must be adequately protected from damp and soft timbers can be easily gouged by heels, chair legs and animal claws.’
      • ‘Rasa kept up a steady chatter as the tiled floors turned to squeaking boards under my feet, the black wood scratched and gouged from the passage of countless clawed feet.’
      • ‘It now seems the valley below the cove was gouged out during an earlier ice age by a glacier, which drained the caves.’
      • ‘The surface may be soft, so be careful not to gouge it with the scraper.’
      • ‘The ominous mist of dust and sand left by the storm has lifted, and the crevices and gullies that gouge the sides of the mountains stand out in sharp relief.’
      • ‘The surface of each tile was gouged.’
    2. 1.2gouge something out Cut or force something out roughly or brutally.
      ‘one of his eyes had been gouged out’
      • ‘I want to gouge out its innards and throw them out the window.’
      • ‘However, there was suspicion he was murdered because one of his eyes was gouged out of its socket and he had a gaping wound in his skull when his body was brought home.’
      • ‘Many were mutilated, their eyes gouged out, their throats slit or their skulls smashed.’
      • ‘One of the dead animals, a rabbit, had had its eyes gouged out.’
      • ‘How about if I gouge them out with a wooden spoon?’
      • ‘Cell phone - sounds funny, but it feels good in my hand, substantial and easy to hold, and the squat antenna could probably gouge an eye out.’
      • ‘The physical assault on the books was frequently directed against the faces, and especially the eyes, of the figures on the covers, as though the very depiction of vision had to be gouged out.’
      • ‘It has been set on fire twice, faces have been gouged out of the religious icons, walls have been daubed and even the Albanian children, as young as seven and eight, want to see the church removed and a Mosque put in its place.’
      • ‘If anyone emails me their answers to these, I will hunt them down and gouge their eyes out.’
      • ‘It's only a simple silver device for gouging mussels out of their shells but with its single, practical use it might, if only for a moment, improve her life.’
      • ‘And until what's left of our constitution is gouged out, everyone else is free to watch, read, or listen to all the smut they like in the privacy of their own laptops.’
      • ‘The camera then concentrates on the officials and their reading until eventually the camera swings around to the man on the table and for the next few minutes we watch as they use forceps and a scalpel to gouge out his eyes.’
      • ‘Get out of my house before I come up and gouge your eyeballs out!’
      • ‘One of the victim's eyes was gouged out during the attack, during which she also sustained other injuries.’
      • ‘The only way I can describe the pain was as though someone was gouging my eye out.’
      • ‘She turns her face to me then, looking as if she's ready to gouge my eyes out with the fork in her hand.’
      • ‘Yes, well you could do almost anything you wanted to except bite, or gouge out eyes.’
      • ‘Occasionally someone laughs at how clever this is as I sit gouging my eyeballs out with my ticket.’
  • 2North American informal Overcharge; swindle.

    ‘the airline ends up gouging the very passengers it is supposed to assist’
    • ‘I also don't think he's trying to gouge me on the increase, which is pretty reasonable.’
    • ‘It would be a whole lot more prosperous if he stopped gouging me and the rest of his captive clients.’
    • ‘Most airlines in the US will gouge you for taking your bicycle on board, but the Mexican airlines usually let it pass as just another piece of luggage.’
    • ‘Is it possible the insurance companies are gouging us?’
    • ‘Are we being gouged by the cellphone companies?’
    • ‘Here's a solution: Stop gouging us with excess fees!’
    • ‘Since they've been gouging me for so long, they ought to be glad to help me earn back a few pennies.’
    • ‘Well, of course the oil companies are gouging customers.’
    • ‘We are gouged enough with the outrageous prices of going to a ball game.’
    • ‘Pharmaceutical companies, for instance, need to back up their ‘we care’ message by not gouging customers.’
    • ‘And while the price of visits, hospital stays and basic laboratory tests are kept artificially low, patients are still gouged.’
    • ‘Why have those greedy farmers and construction workers gouging the public when a typically efficient government agency can meet our needs.’
    • ‘And they enjoy their jobs instead of grousing about deadlines or gouging the customer with extra charges.’
    • ‘‘Are cities overstating a threat, overselling a technology, and undercutting more important safety countermeasures to gouge revenues out of their citizens?’’
    • ‘Are we being gouged when paying top dollar to use roads and rooms which are deteriorating and ignored?’
    • ‘You just want to make sure that people aren't trying to gouge you in the process.’
    • ‘They had superior technology, but they were sitting on it and gouging us.’
    • ‘With the buzz about a possible war helping to drive prices ever higher, we'll look at whether profiteers are gouging you by the gallon.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin gubia, gulbia, perhaps of Celtic origin; compare with Old Irish gulba ‘beak’ and Welsh gylf ‘beak, pointed instrument’.