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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
the gift of the gab
▪ He had the gift of the gab, which one training officer described as the main prerequisite.
▪ They spend way too much time gabbing when they should be working.
▪ The night before the trip, we sisters stayed up late packing and gabbing.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Gab \Gab\, n. [OE. gabbe gabble, mocking, fr. Icel. gabb mocking, mockery, or OF. gab, gabe; perh. akin to E. gape, or gob. Cf. Gab, v. i., Gibber.] The mouth; hence, idle prate; chatter; unmeaning talk; loquaciousness. [Colloq.]

Gift of gab, facility of expression. [Colloq.]


Gab \Gab\, v. i. [OE. gabben to jest, lie, mock, deceive, fr. Icel. gabba to mock, or OF. gaber. See 2d Gab, and cf. Gabble.]

  1. To deceive; to lie. [Obs.]

  2. To talk idly; to prate; to chatter.


Gab \Gab\ (g[a^]b), n. [Cf. Gaff.] (Steam Engine) The hook on the end of an eccentric rod opposite the strap. See. Illust. of Eccentric.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"talk much," 1786, probably via Scottish and northern England dialect from earlier sense "speak foolishly; talk indiscreetly" (late 14c.), from gabben "to scoff, jeer; mock (someone), ridicule; reproach (oneself)," also "to lie to" (late 13c.), from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse gabba "to mock, make fun of," and probably in part from Old French gaber "to mock, jest; brag, boast," which, too, is from Scandinavian. Ultimately perhaps imitative (compare gabble, which might have shaded the sense of this word). Gabber was Middle English for "liar, deceiver; mocker." Related: Gabbed; gabbing.


"action of talking," earlier "chatter, loquacity, idle talk" (mid-13c.), also "falsehood, deceit," originally "a gibe, a taunt" (c.1200), mid-13c., probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse gabb "mocking, mockery," and in part from Old French gap, gab "joke, jest; bragging talk," which also is probably from Scandinavian (compare gab (v.)). Probably also there is influence from Scottish and northern English gab "the mouth" (see gob); OED reports the word "Not in dignified use." Gift of (the) gab "talent for speaking" is from 1680s.


n. 1 idle chatter 2 The mouth or gob. 3 One of the open-forked ends of rods controlling reversing in early steam engines. vb. 1 (context intransitive obsolete English) To jest; to tell lies in jest; exaggerate; lie. 2 (context intransitive English) To talk or chatter a lot, usually on trivial subjects. 3 (context transitive obsolete English) To speak or tell falsely.


n. light informal conversation for social occasions [syn: chitchat, small talk, gabfest, gossip, tittle-tattle, chin-wag, chin-wagging, causerie]


The cuneiform sign gáb, (also qáb), is an uncommon-use sign of the Amarna letters, and other cuneiform texts. It is possibly an equivalent sign for the later version of DAGAL (extensive Sumerogram), , with an, , replacing the earlier version, the "star" (as Dingir), contained within the cuneiform sign. This later version of DAGAL is somewhat similar to gáb, (a 'rectangular-box form'). The meaning of "DAGAL", Akkadian language for "extensive" – compares to the Amarna letters use of gáb as Akkadian language "gabbu", English language for "all", or "all (of us)"

For Rainey's version of EA letters 359-379 (only 10 actual letters) gáb is only used to spell Akkadian "gabbu", and 2 words using qáb, mostly for Akkadian "qabû", English "to speak", and in EA 259 (the " King of Battle, Tablet I"), for "battle", Akkadian "qablu".

Cuneiform gáb/qáb is mosly used as a syllabic for the three characters of the sign. It is within a small group of signs that are composed of 1- or 2-vertical strokes (at right or left), the other signs being no. 535 Ib (cuneiform), no. 536 ku (cuneiform) (only 1-vertical, left and right), no. 537 lu (cuneiform), and no 575, ur (cuneiform).

Gab (song)

A gab or gap (, "boast") is a troubadour boasting song. It is often considered related to the tenso and partimen, two types of debate poem. Sometimes the gab is not considered a separate genre of poetry but simply a boast found within another genre, commonly the sirventes.

The Occitan word gab means "boast" and comes from the verb gabar (to open the mouth wide, i.e. gape). The song is innately competitive and the boast is often presented as a challenge, which may generate poetical responses. The boasting, however, is made in good fun and typically follows a formula ensuring it will be well-received (unlike a real boast). Often it is heavily ironic, and the boasts are intended specifically to entertain the audience that knows better.

The first gab was "Ben vuelh", composed by William IX of Aquitaine (died 1126). The sirventes "De mots ricos no tem Peire Vidal" by Uc de Lescura begins with a gab proclaiming the composer's superiority to eight of his contemporary troubadours, including the man of the title, Peire Vidal, who was himself a famous composer of gabs. One of his works opens:

''Drogoman senher, s'ieu agues bon destrier, ''en fol plag foran intrat tuich mei guerrier: ''qu'acqui mezeis quant hom lor mi mentau ''mi temon plus que cailla esparvier, ''e non prezon lur vida un denierm ''tan mi sabon fer e salvatg'e brau. Lord Interpreter, if I had a good war-horse, my enemies would be in difficulty: for no sooner had they heard the mention of my name they would fear me more than the quail fears the hawk, and they would value their life no more than a farthing, for they would know how fierce, wild and ferocious I am.

Usage examples of "gab".

It was Gabbing Dick who was sprawled before him and one thing was clear.

He would never go there again, and had given up his rooms in the district, so that there was no trace of his ever having been near the pub or Gabbing Dick.

The police, of course, had no knowledge that Gabbing Dick had had access to even more dubious circles than those of East End criminals.

The devil of it was, thought Ralph despairingly, that with Gabbing Dick dead, the only way in which they were going to find out who and what were behind the mysterious deaths was through Clare.

Clare was unaware of the deaths of Gabbing Dick and Lance Milford or she would have included them in her list.

For starters, he had not thought that his real name was known to Gabbing Dick, and he wondered rapidly and frantically how Dick could have found it out since he had gone to great lengths to keep his identity secret.

We do know that Gabbing Dick went to The Jolly Pirate, but left shortly before nine with two men.

It was, however, impossible to believe that he had been wandering about Limehouse keeping an assignation with a criminal called Gabbing Dick!

Neither of them could think of any reason why Gabbing Dick should have made an assignation with Ralph Schuyler--if that was what the paper meant.

For one moment, when I asked him about Gabbing Dick I could have sworn that Master Ralph Schuyler was genuinely shocked, and put off his stroke a little.

He was also certain that Gabbing Dick had wanted to warn him that one way or another his death had been ordered--and that he had been killed for his pains.

Scotland Yard to tell them where the possible murderer of Gabbing Dick was to be found, and that he had been in a car accident--and where to find the car.

What she did not know, and Ralph could not tell her, for he could scarcely believe it himself, was that for some strange reason, even as she had spoken to him of Gabbing Dick, Ralph had remembered what it was that he had heard which had troubled his subconscious mind for the last few days.

It was she, who by her reference to Gabbing Dick, had jogged his memory, and opened up a whole new line of thought--about which he needed to consult the Colonel.

Yard that a man named Sid Jones who had been left at the hospital was involved in the murder of the minor criminal, Gabbing Dick, about whom I questioned you some days ago.