Gage, gauge, and gouge

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Besides being a surname, a gage is something given as a security of an obligation, such as a glove or hat in a duel. It is also a variant spelling of gauge, though the latter spelling is much more common.

Gauge can be an tool that measures and displays the level of something. Or as a verb gauge can be to judge or assess something, to use a gauge, or to stretch something wider, specifically ear lobes. The last definition is not yet entered into the dictionary, but understood colloquially.

To gouge something is to dig into it or to overcharge. The dictionary says the latter definition is North American, but its use has spread. Gouge is also the name of a kind of chisel that is used to gouge.


With comparative gages like the one in question, a lot can be done to ensure that parts go into the gage the same way every time. [MMS Online]

Mardian’s rain gage holds 5 inches and was overflowing Sunday morning. [Aberdeen News]

Labour MP Lucy Powell said she would be tabling a series of parliamentary questions to gauge the true extent to which private nurseries were opting not to offer free places to two-year-olds from deprived backgrounds. [The Guardian]

The benchmark equity gauge climbed 1.5 percent last week for the best gain since June. [BNN Canada]

People who are obsessed with getting the largest stretch possible are known in the business as a “gauge queen” or “gauge king”, according to Fox. [BBC]

Ace photographer Gregg Porteous caught Manly front-rower Josh Starling appearing to gouge Souths forward Dave Tyrrell in Friday night’s match at the SCG. [Daily Telegraph]

Victoria’s biggest clubs Hawthorn and Collingwood have vowed not to price-gouge their fans with big membership fee rises despite massive new equalisation taxes. [Herald Sun]

This time, though, the indignity of the move — and the 15 percent across-the-board gouge that Gannett has mandated for the staff of all of its newsrooms — was too much. [Nashville Scene]

Using a wood gouge and laboring every day for a month, Brackett carved a bowl in the top of the stump, sanded it smooth and soaked it to remove the tannic wood taste. [SF Gate]