Word of the Day: gag

Word of the Day
August 2, 2016
gag (noun, verb)
/gæg/  sound icon
 
If someone is gagged, it means they can't speak.
A gag is anything put in or over someone's mouth to prevent him or her from speaking or shouting, usually a piece of cloth with a ball in the middle or duct tape. Figuratively, a gag is any suppression of free speech. As a verb, to gag means 'to prevent someone from speaking,' either by putting something in their mouth or through suppressing free speech by force of authority. It also means 'to choke' or 'to retch,' as though you are going to vomit. However, gag has another unrelated meaning. As a noun, it means 'a joke or prank' and, as a verb, 'to tell jokes' or 'to introduce gags in acting.'

 

Example sentences
 
The kidnappers put a gag over their victim's mouth, so that he couldn't shout for help.
The government's gag meant the newspapers couldn't report on what was happening.
The robbers tied the couple up and gagged them while they searched the house for valuables.
Neil wanted to tell people what he had discovered, but he was gagged by a confidentiality clause.
I really don't like tomatoes; they make me gag.
My dad's gags are never funny.
The comedian kept gagging all the way through the show.

 

Multi-word forms
 
be gagging for something, be gagging to do something (UK, informal): want something very much, be very eager to do something. Example: "After a long day working in the garden, I'm gagging for a cold beer."
 
sight gag: an element of visual comedy: "You should watch the movie carefully because it is full of hilarious sight gags."
 
gag order: an order preventing someone from talking about a subject, often made by a judge: "The judge issued a gag order, so we can't discuss the details of the trial with the press."
 
Additional information
 
A gag is also a kind of edible fish found along the coasts of the west Atlantic Ocean.
 
Did you know?
 
There isn't much difference between the words gag and joke and the two are almost always interchangeable. However, gag is particularly used to refer to jokes in comedy performances and is much less common than joke.
 
Origin
 
Gag can be traced back to the early 15th century, to the Late Middle English verb gaggen, which meant 'to suffocate.' Some speculate that it comes from the sound we make when we choke. The noun meaning appeared soon after the verb. It is similar to the Old Norse word gagg, which meant 'yelp.' The meaning of gag as a joke was first seen in the late 18th century.
 
 
 
 
 
Gag in other languages
 
 
 
 
Gag was suggested by Nicolás P., from Argentina
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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