From Middle English gauge, gaugen, from Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French gauger (compare Modern French jauger from Old French jaugier), from gauge (“gauging rod”), from Frankish *galga (“measuring rod, pole”), from Proto-Germanic *galgô (“pole, stake, cross”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰAlgʰ-, *ǵʰAlg- (“perch, long switch”). Cognate with Old High German galgo, Old Frisian galga, Old English ġealga (“cross-beam, gallows”), Old Norse galgi (“cross-beam, gallows”), Old Norse gelgja (“pole, perch”). See gallow.
gauge (countable and uncountable, plural gauges)
- A measure; a standard of measure; an instrument to determine dimensions, distance, or capacity; a standard
- 1780, Edmund Burke, speech at The Guildhall, in Bristol
- the gauge and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt
2008 Spring/Summer, John Zerzan, “Silence”, in Green Anarchy, number 25:
The record of philosophy vis-à-vis silence is generally dismal, as good a gauge as any to its overall failure.
- An act of measuring.
- An estimate.
- Any instrument for ascertaining or regulating the level, state, dimensions or forms of things
- A thickness of sheet metal or wire designated by any of several numbering schemes.
- (rail transport) The distance between the rails of a railway.
- (mathematics, mathematical analysis) A semi-norm; a function that assigns a non-negative size to all vectors in a vector space.
- (knitting) The number of stitches per inch, centimetre, or other unit of distance.
- (nautical) Relative positions of two or more vessels with reference to the wind.
- A vessel has the weather gauge of another when on the windward side of it, and the lee gauge when on the lee side of it.
- (nautical) The depth to which a vessel sinks in the water.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Totten to this entry?)
- (plastering) The quantity of plaster of Paris used with common plaster to make it set more quickly.
- That part of a shingle, slate, or tile, which is exposed to the weather, when laid; also, one course of such shingles, slates, or tiles.
- (firearms) A unit of measurement which describes how many spheres of bore diameter of a shotgun can be had from one pound of lead; 12 gauge is roughly equivalent to .75 caliber.
- (US, slang, by extension) A shotgun (synecdoche for 12 gauge shotgun, the most common chambering for combat and hunting shotguns).
1992, “A Nigga Witta Gun”, in The Chronic, Death Row Records, performed by Dr. Dre:
I'm talking about cocking a gauge in between your eyes.
1996, “Illusions”, in Cypress Hill III: Temples of Boom, performed by Cypress Hill:
I'm tryin to find ways to cope / But I ain't fuckin' round with the gauge or a rope
2000, “Grab The Gauge”, in Underground Vol. 3: Kings of Memphis, performed by Three 6 Mafia:
It happens everyday don't make me grab the gauge / Dangerously I play, I best to kill with the gauge / And put ya body in the back of that grey Chevrolet
- A tunnel-like ear piercing consisting of a hollow ring embedded in the lobe.
- 2013, Destiny Patterson, Samantha Beckworth, Jennifer Proctor, Arose (page 150)
- Jenni didn't really look as though she fit in with the rest of the girls here, she had a nose piercing and angel bites, her long curly dark brown hair with red highlights was pulled back exposing gauges and many other ear piercings and a tattoo […]
- (slang, uncountable) Cannabis.
- 1971, Black Creation (volumes 3-6, page 53)
- […] smoking gauge was a new phenomenon to Himes: “When I looked up after turning the corner, all the grimy facades seemed to be a blaze of bright colors, gold, scarlet, blue, green, like an array of peacocks. […]
- 2000, Cynthia Palmer, Michael Horowitz, Sisters of the Extreme
- When we settled, he said, “You've been smoking gauge, haven't you?”
Terms derived from gauge (noun)
a measure; a standard of measure; an instrument to determine dimensions, distance, or capacity; a standard
- Bulgarian: мярка (bg) f (mjarka), размер (bg) m (razmer), шаблон (bg) m (šablon)
- Danish: mål (da) n
- Dutch: meter (nl)
- Finnish: mitta (fi)
- French: gabarit (fr) m
- Georgian: ზომა (zoma), ოდენობა (odenoba), მასშტაბი (ka) (masšṭabi), გაბარიტი (gabariṭi), კალიბრი (ḳalibri)
- German: Meter (de) n, Messgerät (de) n, Maß (de) n
- Italian: calibro (it) m, unità di misura (it) f, strumento di misura m
- Latvian: mērogs (lv) m
any instrument for ascertaining or regulating the level, state, dimensions or forms of things; as, a rain gauge; a steam gauge
distance between the rails of a railway
a semi-norm; a function that assigns a non-negative size to all vectors in a vector space
gauge (third-person singular simple present gauges, present participle gauging, simple past and past participle gauged)
- (transitive) To measure or determine with a gauge; to measure the capacity of.
- (transitive) To estimate.
- (transitive) To appraise the character or ability of; to judge of.
c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii]:
You shall not gauge me / By what we do to-night.
- (textile, transitive) To draw into equidistant gathers by running a thread through it.
- (transitive) To mix (a quantity of ordinary plaster) with a quantity of plaster of Paris.
- (transitive) To chip, hew or polish (stones, bricks, etc) to a standard size and/or shape.
to appraise the character of
to chip to standard shape