Etymology: Middle English gauge, from Anglo-French
Date: 15th century
a. a measurement (as of linear dimension) according to some standard or system: as
(1) the distance between the rails of a railroad
(2) the size of a shotgun barrel's inner diameter nominally expressed as the number of lead balls each just fitting that diameter required to make a pound <a 12-gauge shotgun> (3) the thickness of a thin material (as sheet metal or plastic film) (4) the diameter of a slender object (as wire or a hypodermic needle) (5) the fineness of a knitted fabric expressed by the number of loops per unit width b. dimensions, size c. measure 1 <surveys are a gauge of public sentiment> 2. an instrument for or a means of measuring or testing: as a. an instrument for measuring a dimension or for testing mechanical accuracy b. an instrument with a graduated scale or dial for measuring or indicating quantity 3. relative position of a ship with reference to another ship and the wind 4. a function introduced into a field equation to produce a convenient form of the equation but having no observable physical consequences Synonyms: see standard II. transitive verb also gage (gauged; also gaged; gauging; also gaging) Date: 15th century 1. a. to measure precisely the size, dimensions, or other measurable quantity of b. to determine the capacity or contents of c. estimate, judge <hard to gauge his moods> 2. a. to check for conformity to specifications or limits b. to measure off or set out
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.