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gape (verb) stare with mouth wide open (in shock or surprise); open widely (a gap, etc.).
When you gape at something in horror, shock, or surprise, you stare with your mouth wide open at it, speechless. A person gapes at the horrible sight of a murder if they become speechless and open their mouth wide in shock. When you yawn you gape because your mouth opens wide. When something is open widely it gapes. A chasm gapes because it is wide and deep. A large hole gaped before them as they walked into the backyard - this means they suddenly saw a deep and wide pit before them.
- Susan gaped in horror when she thought she saw the ghost of her dead father at the dead of the night when she was alone at home. For the whole of two or three minutes her mouth remained wide open as she stared at the ghost.
- The riders across the plains suddenly stopped short of a deep opening which gaped before them. They were at a loss how to reach the other side of the opening.