Meaning of “gap” in the English Dictionary

"gap" in British English

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gapnoun

uk /ɡæp/ us /ɡæp/

gap noun (HOLE)

B1 [ C ] an empty space or opening in the middle of something or between two things:

The children squeezed through a gap in the wall.
She has a small gap between her front teeth.
gap in the market C2 [ C ]

an opportunity for a product or service that does not already exist:

There is a gap in the magazine market that needs to be filled.

More examples

  • A ray of sunshine shone through a gap in the clouds.
  • With a wriggle, she managed to crawl through the gap.
  • A gap in the clouds revealed the Atlantic far below.
  • He carefully nosed his lorry into the small gap.
  • A gap between the curtains admitted the faint glimmer of a street lamp.

gap noun (DIFFERENCE)

B2 [ S ] a difference between two things:

The gap between rich and poor is still widening (= becoming greater).

B2 [ C usually singular ] a period of time spent doing something different:

After a gap of five years, Jennifer decided to go back to work full-time.

More examples

  • The government's change of policy is intended to reduce the gap between the haves and have-nots in our society.
  • We must strive to narrow the gap between rich and poor.
  • There exists nowadays a yawning gap between fashion and style.
  • We must bridge the gap between labour and management.
  • The report states that the gap between the rich and the poor has increased dramatically over the past decade.

(Definition of “gap” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"gap" in American English

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gapnoun [ C ]

us /ɡæp/

an empty space or opening in the middle of something or between two things:

Picking up speed, she closed the gap between them.
She has a gap between her front teeth.

A gap can be a period in which something does not happen:

After a gap of five years, Juanita decided to go back to work full-time.

A gap can also be something lacking:

Some people read to fill in gaps in their education.

A gap can also be a difference between people:

He was trying to bridge the gap between elders and youth, the middle class and poor.

(Definition of “gap” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"gap" in Business English

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gapnoun [ C, usually singular ]

uk /ɡæp/ us

a difference between two numbers, amounts, or levels:

Forecasters are predicting a budget gap of nearly $17 bn next year.
There is a $40 million shortfall in emergency aid, and the EU is increasing its donation to close the gap.

something that is missing from a situation:

close/fill gaps in sth The Bill aims to close gaps in existing law on fraud.
growing/widening gap New federal projections for job openings this decade show a growing gap in the training and education required for workers.

a period in which something does not happen:

Most see a gap between finishing education and starting work as a positive thing.

a difference between people or their situations:

gap between sth and sth The gap between rich and poor is growing all the time.
close/fill/widen the gap Excessive bonuses have only served to widen the gap between executives and other staff.
We have nearly closed the math and science gender gap in education for girls.
a gap in the market

an opportunity to sell a product or service because a need or demand for it exists but no one is supplying it:

Spotting a gap in the market, she decided to set up a clothes storage service.
bridge a/the gap

to make the difference between two things smaller:

Financing was slow to come in and the city took out a bond to bridge the gap.
bridge the gap between sth and sth The program helps working families bridge the gap between income and rent.

(Definition of “gap” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)