Dictionary: G – GA-DO'LI-NITE

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the seventh letter and the fifth articulation of the English Alphabet, is derived to us, through the Latin and Greek, from the Assyrian languages; it being found in the Chaldee, Syriac, Hebrew, Samaritan, Phenician, Ethiopic and Arabic. In the latter language, it is called giim or jim; but in the others, gimel, gomal or gamal, that is, camel, from its shape, which resembles the neck of that animal, at least in the Chaldee and Hebrew. It is the third letter in the Chaldee, Syriac, Hebrew, Samaritan and Greek; the fifth in the Arabic, and the twentieth in the Ethiopic. The Greek Γ gamma is the Chaldaic ג inverted. The early Latins used C for the Greek gamma, and hence C came to hold the third place in the order of the Alphabet; the place which gimel holds in the oriental languages. The two letters are primarily palatals, and so nearly allied in sound that they are easily convertible; and they have been reciprocally used the one for the other. But in the Assyrian languages gimel had two sounds; one close, as we pronounce the letter in gave, good; the other compound, as the English j or as ch in chase. In the Arabic, this letter has the sound of the English j or dzh, and this sound it has in many English words, as in genius, gem, ginger. It retains its close sound in all cases, before a, o and u; but before e, i and y, its sound is close or compound, as custom has dictated, and its different sounds are not reducible to rules. It is silent in some words before n, as in benign, condign, malign, campaign; but it resumes its sound in benignity and malignity. G is mute before n in gnash, gnaw; it is silent also in many words when united with h, as in bright, might, night, nigh, high. The Saxon g has in many words been softened or liquefied into y or ow; as Sax. dæg, gear, Eng. day, year; Sax. bugan, Eng. to bow. The Celtic nations had a peculiar manner of beginning the sound of u or w with the articulation g, or rather prefixing this articulation to that vowel. Thus guard for ward, gwain for wain, guerre for war, gwell for well. Whether this g has been added by the Celtic races, or whether the Teutonic nations have lost it, is a question I have not examined with particular attention. As a numeral, G was anciently used to denote 400, and with a dash over it, Ḡ, 40,000. As an abbreviation, it stands for Gaius, Gellius, &c. In music, it is the mark of the treble clef, and from its being placed at the head or marking the first sound in Guido's scale, the whole scale took the name, Gammut, from the Greek name of the letter.


in Gothic, is a prefix, answering to ge in Saxon and other Teutonic languages. It sometimes has the force of the Latin cum or con, as in gawithan, to conjoin. But in most words it appears to have no use, and in modern English it is entirely lost. Y-cleped in which ge is changed into y, is the last word in which the English retained this prefix.

GAB, n. [Scot. gab, Dan. gab, the mouth, and a gap or gaping; Sw. gap; Russ. guba, a lip, a bay or gulf, the mouth of a river; Ir. cab, the mouth; connected probably with gabble, giberish, Sax. gabban, to mock, perhaps to make mouths. See Gabble and Gape.]

The mouth; as in the phrase, the gift of the gab, that is, loquaciousness. But the word is so vulgar as rarely to be used.

GAB'AR-DINE, n. [Sp. gabardina; gaban, a great coat with a hood and close sleeves; gabacha, a loose garment; Port. gabam, a frock; It. gavardina; Fr. gabam.]

A coarse frock or loose upper garment; a mean dress. – Shak.


  1. Loud or rapid talk without meaning. – Milton.
  2. Inarticulate sounds rapidly uttered, as of fowls. – Shak.

GAB'BLE, v.i. [D. gabberen, to prate; Sax. gabban, to jeer or deride; Fr. gaber, id.; Eng. to gibe; Sw. gabberi, derision; It. gabbare, to deceive; gabbo, a jeering. These may all be from one root. See Class Gb, No. 7.]

  1. To prate; to talk fast, or to talk without meaning. Such a rout, and such a rabble, / Run to hear Jack Pudding gabble. – Swift.
  2. To utter inarticulate sounds with rapidity; as, gabbling fowls. – Dryden.


A prater; a noisy talker; one that utters inarticulate sounds.


Prating; chattering; uttering unmeaning or inarticulate sounds.


In mineralogy, the name given by the Italians to the aggregate of diallage and saussurite. It is the euphotide of the French, and the verde di Corsica duro of artists. – Cleaveland.

GA'BEL, n. [Fr. gabelle; It. gabella; Sp. gabela; Sax. gafel or gafol.]

A tax, impost or duty; usually an excise.


A collector of the gabel or of taxes. – Wright.

GA'BI-ON, n. [Fr. id.; It. gabbione, a large cage; gabbia, a cage; Sp. gavion, gabion, a basket. In Ir. gabham signifies to take or hold; W. gavaelu, id.]

In fortification, a large basket of wicker-work, of a cylindrical form; filled with earth, and serving to shelter men from an enemy's fire. – Encyc.


Obstruction by gabions.

GA'BLE, n. [W. gavael, a hold or grasp, the gable of a house; gavaelu, to grasp, hold, arrest, Ir. gabham. Qu. G. gabel, Ir. gabhlan, a fork.]

The triangular end of a house or other building, from the cornice or eaves to the top. In America, it is usually called the gable-end.


In ecclesiastical history, a sect of ana-baptists in Pomerania, so called from one Gabriel Scherling.


A mineral, supposed to be a variety of fettstein. It occurs in masses, whose structure is more or less foliated, or sometimes compact. Its colors are gray, bluish or greenish gray, and sometimes red. – Cleaveland.

GAD, n. [Sax. gad, a goad and a wedge; Ir. gadh, a dart.]

  1. A wedge or ingot of steel. – Moxon.
  2. A style or graver. – Shak.
  3. A punch of iron with a wooden handle, used by miners. – Encyc.

GAD, v.i. [Ir. gad, a stealing, properly a roving, as rob is connected with rove; gadaim, to steal. It coincides with the Russ. chod, a going or passing; choju, to go, to pass, to march. See Class Gd, No. 17, Eth. and No. 38.]

  1. To walk about; to rove or ramble idly or without any fixed purpose. Give the water no passage, neither a wicked woman liberty to gad abroad. – Ecclus.
  2. To ramble in growth; as, the gadding vine. – Milton.


One who walks about without business. [Colloquial.]


A rambler; one that roves about idly.

GAD'DING, ppr.

Rambling; roving; walking about.


In a roving, idle manner.

GAD-FLY', n. [Sax. gad, a goad, and fly.]

An insect of the genus Œstrus, which stings cattle, and deposits its eggs in their skin; called also the breeze.

GAD'OID, n. [L. gadus, cod.]

One of a family of soft-finned fishes, of the order of Subbrachians, or those having the ventral fins below or in advance of the pectoral, of which family the cod is the type.


A mineral, so called from Professor Gadolin, usually in amorphous masses of a blackish color, and having the appearance of vitreous lava. It contains the earth called yttria.