1. In a state of wonder or amazement, as with eyes wide open (adverb)
  2. Wide open (adjective)

Pronunciation: A-geip


Dated back to the 1660’s, this refreshing adverb and adjective stems from the Old Norse gape meaning to open one’s mouth widely, as in surprise or stupidity…

The English verb ‘gape’ meaning to stare and the noun ‘gap’ stem from the same origin.

Why this word?

The word agape is a very interesting word mainly because anything can be agape, not only people’s amazement… Staring agape at something is being surprised by it, as with widely open eyes or mouth; but an open shell or door can also be referred to as agape.

How to use the word agape?

Agape, as an adverb, must follow a verb (clearly). Next time you would like to stress your amazement with a certain happenstance, describe it as such.

We were staring completely agape as the 20 year old gorgeous blonde, kneeled down amid the shopping center and purposed to a 90 year-old lucky man!”

Don’t just stand there agape! Do something!”

As an adjective, you can use agape to describe anything that is widely open.

The cave was agape so anyone could enter and see the archeological findings!”

A useful note…

Make sure you do not confuse this adjective\adverb with the noun agape. It is pronounced differently (‘a-GA-pe’ as opposed to ‘A-geip’), represents brotherly (mainly Christian) love and stems from the Greek agape meaning- love.


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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