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See also: Gag and GAG




The verb is from 15th-century Middle English gaggen, Early Modern English gagge, possibly imitative or perhaps related to or influenced by Old Norse (Old Icelandic) gag-háls ("with head thrown backwards"; > Norwegian dialectal gaga (bent backwards)). The intransitive sense "to retch" is from 1707.

The noun is from the 16th century, figurative use (for "repression of speech") from the 1620s. The secondary meaning "(practical) joke" is from 1863, of unclear origin.



gag (plural gags)

  1. A device to restrain speech, such as a rag in the mouth secured with tape or a rubber ball threaded onto a cord or strap.
  2. (law) An order or rule forbidding discussion of a case or subject.
  3. A joke or other mischievous prank.
    • 2012 May 20, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Marge Gets A Job” (season 4, episode 7; originally aired 11/05/1992)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      We all know how genius “Kamp Krusty,” “A Streetcar Named Marge,” “Homer The Heretic,” “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie” and “Mr. Plow” are, but even the relatively unheralded episodes offer wall-to-wall laughs and some of the smartest, darkest, and weirdest gags ever Trojan-horsed into a network cartoon with a massive family audience.
  4. A convulsion of the upper digestive tract.
  5. (archaic) A mouthful that makes one retch or choke.
    • 1913, Webster, Webster's revised unabridged dictionary of the English language:
      "a gag of mutton fat" --Lamb


Derived termsEdit



gag (third-person singular simple present gags, present participle gagging, simple past and past participle gagged)

  1. (intransitive) To experience the vomiting reflex.
    He gagged when he saw the open wound.
  2. (transitive) To cause to heave with nausea.
    • Stephen King, A Very Tight Place
      His empty stomach was suddenly full of butterflies, and for the first time since arriving here at scenic Durkin Grove Village, he felt an urge to gag himself. He would be able to think more clearly about this if he just stuck his fingers down his throat []
  3. (transitive) To restrain someone's speech by blocking his or her mouth.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Fate of the Artemis[2]:
      [] Captain Markam had been found lying half-insensible, gagged and bound, on the floor of the sitting-room, his hands and feet tightly pinioned, and a woollen comforter wound closely round his mouth and neck ; whilst Mrs. Markham's jewel-case, containing valuable jewellery and the secret plans of Port Arthur, had disappeared. []
    The victims could not speak because the burglar had gagged them with duct tape.
  4. (transitive) To pry or hold open by means of a gag.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir John Fortescue, De Laudibus Legum Angliae (translated by Francis Gregor)
      [] some have their mouths gagged to such a wideness, for a long time, whereat such quantities of water are poured in, that their bellies swell to a prodigious degree []
  5. (transitive, figuratively) To restrain someone's speech without using physical means.
    When the financial irregularities were discovered, the CEO gagged everyone in the accounting department.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Macaulay
      The time was not yet come when eloquence was to be gagged, and reason to be hoodwinked.

Derived termsEdit



Further readingEdit

  • gag at OneLook Dictionary Search



gag m (plural gags)

  1. jay



gag m (plural gags)

  1. gag (joke)