Grammar Gage vs. Gauge: Is There a Difference? |
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Gage vs. Gauge: Is There a Difference?

Do you know the difference between the words gauge and gage? Is there a difference at all? Is one just a misspelling of the other?

If you’ve ever wondered, this discussion will help to clear things up.

The Meaning of Gauge

To establish the difference between gage and gauge, we should note that, at least in American English, gauge is used far more often. It’s a word that has a couple of meanings.

As a noun, it refers to an object that measures things or is the unit of measurement itself. For example, you might come across:

a gauge in the cockpit of an airplane

a shotgun shell that is measured in a specific gauge to denote its size or weight

something being used as a tool of measurement (e.g., the stock market as a gauge for the health of the American economy)

These are all examples of gauge being used as a noun. You can see how each refers to measurement.

As a verb, gauge means something similar. It is the act of measuring something.


You should never jump off a cliff if you can’t gauge the depth of the water below.

The firm conducted a poll to gauge interest in their newest product.

It takes a lot of math to gauge the distance between two comets.

You can see how the word gauge is used for the action of measurement.

The Meaning of Gage

Multiple grammar sources agree that the word gage has traditionally referred to a pledge, collateral, or something presented to initiate combat or a challenge. In modern terms, for example, your home might be a gage that secures a loan taken against it. In years past, a knight might have thrown down his gauntlet as a gage challenging another knight to a duel.

While precision in daily formal writing would keepĀ gage andĀ gauge as separate words with separate meanings, the words may still often appear as interchangeable spellings in certain technical industries, such as engineering, machining, and dimensional metrology.

The Bottom Line on Gauge vs. Gage

The words gage and gauge have very similar spellings and pronunciations. They have different uses and meanings in an academic application of English vocabulary, but both spellings might be used to represent the meaning of gauge in certain industries.

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3 responses to “Gage vs. Gauge: Is There a Difference?”

  1. Mike says:

    Gage is still used in the machining and dimensional metrology field. It’s used to describe fixed metal measurement tooling. For example gage blocks are blocks ground to a precise height, usually certified by a measurement lab to a tight tolerance.

  2. J.tyler says:

    I agree with Mike. The word gage is used in everyday mechanics in the US.

    • says:

      You and we are both correct. We have considered the feedback, further researched the item raised, and updated the post.

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