Have you ever heard someone saying, “Take a gander,” and wondered what it meant? If you live in Europe, chances are you don’t hear this expression very often, so you might be confused about its meaning. In this blog post, I’ll explain the phrase and offer some examples of how to use it. Keep reading to learn more!
The Phrase Take a Gander
To “take a gander at someone or something” means to look closely, check, or examine a person, object, or landscape. It’s a common North American saying, so English-speaking countries outside the US and Canada might not be familiar with it.
What Does Take a Gander Mean?
The idiomatic phrase “take a gander” is most commonly used in North America and means to have a look at something. It can be used to describe both physical and non-physical things.
For example, you might say, “I’m going to take a gander at that new car before I decide whether or not to buy it.” In this case, you are referring to looking at the car to make a decision.
Alternatively, you might say, “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help taking a gander at their conversation.” In this instance, you are saying that you accidentally overheard something.
Although “gander” originally referred to the male of the goose species, it is now used more generally to mean taking a look at something. So next time you want to have a look at something, remember to take a gander.
Where Did the Phrase Take a Gander Come From?
The phrase “take a gander” is derived from the Old English word for “gander,” which itself is derived from the Germanic word for “goose.” By definition, the term originally referred to the act of looking at something in a casual or leisurely manner. Over time, however, it came to be associated with taking a long, hard look at something.
This idiomatic expression dates back to the early 1900s and is thought to have originated from the verb gander, which means “stretch one’s neck to see.”
In the early 1800s, the phrase “to take a gander” began appearing in print, often about taking a close look at someone or something. By the mid-1900s, the phrase had become firmly entrenched in the English language. Today, it is used both informally and formally to describe taking a careful look at something.
Using Take a Gander in Sentences
For example, I might say to someone looking at my new car, “Take a gander at this beauty!” In this case, the phrase is used to invite someone to appreciate something.
Alternatively, you might use the phrase to encourage someone to take a closer look at something unusual.
For instance, if you saw an unusual bird while hiking, you might say to your friend, “Take a gander at that! I’ve never seen anything like it.” In this case, the phrase is used to express amazement.
As these examples illustrate, the meaning of “take a gander” can vary; it just depends on the context in which it is used.
Alternative to the Phrase Take a Gander
Here are some alternative words and expressions you can use instead of “take a gander”:
- flip through
- check out
- dip into
- get a load of
- leaf through
- riffle through
- run over
- run through
- skim through
- take in
The Final Words
The phrase “take a gander” is most commonly used in North America and means to have a look at something. It is derived from the Old English word for “gander,” which is derived from the Germanic word for “goose.” The term originally referred to the act of looking at something in a casual or leisurely manner but came to mean taking a long, hard look over time.