Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old Norse
Origin: geispa 'to yawn'

gasp

1 verb
     
gasp1
1 [intransitive and transitive] to breathe in suddenly in a way that can be heard, especially because you are surprised or in pain
gasp in/with
Ollie gasped with pain and slumped forward.
gasp at
The audience gasped at the splendour of the costumes.
'My leg!' he gasped. 'I think it's broken!'
2 [intransitive] to breathe quickly in a way that can be heard because you are having difficulty breathing [↪ pant]
gasp for air/breath
Brendan climbed slowly, gasping for breath.
3

be gasping (for something)

British English spoken to feel that you urgently need something such as a drink or cigarette:
I'm gasping for a pint!
WORD FOCUS: breathe WORD FOCUS: breathe
to breathe in: inhale formal

to breathe out: exhale formal

to breathe noisily: sniff, snore (when sleeping)
snort
, sigh

to breathe with difficulty: gasp, pant, wheeze, be short of breath, be out of breath

to be unable to breathe: choke, suffocate
breathe

See also
breathe

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary