Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An awkward, loutish person; an oaf.
  • intransitive v. To stare or gape stupidly. See Synonyms at gaze.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a cuckoo
  • n. a fool
  • n. a simpleton, stupid or clumsy person.
  • v. To stare or gape stupidly
  • v. To stare conspicuously.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cuckoo.
  • n. A simpleton; a booby; a gawky.
  • intransitive v. To act like a gawky.
  • intransitive v. To stare with empty-minded fascination; to stare stupidly; to gape; -- usually used with at.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A cuckoo. [Scotch and North. Eng.] — 2. A stupid, awkward fellow; a fool; a simpleton; a booby. Also gawky.
  • Foolish.
  • To act like a gawk; go about awkwardly; look like a fool.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an awkward stupid person
  • v. look with amazement; look stupidly

Etymologies

Perhaps alteration (influenced by gawk hand, left hand) of obsolete gaw, to gape, from Middle English gawen, from Old Norse , to heed.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From a variant of gowk, from Middle English gowke, from Old Norse gaukr ("cuckoo"), from Proto-Germanic *gaukaz (“cuckoo”). Cognate with Danish gøg, Swedish gök, German Gauch, Old English ġēac. More at yeke. (Wiktionary)
A Middle-Appalachian Americanism, since late 1800s, possibly misconstruing French "gauche," and leading to use of adj gawky for a person or process that is uncoordinated or awkward. (Wiktionary)
Perhaps from Old Norse  ("to heed"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Ebenezer and the farmer, gawking up, saw the tree descending on them and they were petrified with terror. Both realized they would rather not die at this particular time.

    - William Steig, Farmer Palmer's Wagon Ride

    September 29, 2008