Word of the Day: Gamut

By Daniel Scocco

A gamut is anything graduated (i.e. marked at regular intervals) used to measure. A ruler, for example, could be called a gamut. In music a gamut represents all the known musical notes. Finally, gamut can also mean a complete range of something (e.g., a gamut of colors).

ESPN’s online arm runs gamut of live sports offerings (USA Today)

The court’s liberal wing strenuously disagreed, offering its own historical construction that emphasized a gamut of restrictions on firearms… (WSJ)

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5 Responses to “Word of the Day: Gamut”

  • Michael Batey

    “She [Katharine Hepburn] runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.”
    – Dorothy Parker

  • Shamaine

    I would like clarification on what article, if any , must or should be used before “gamut.” Is it “a gamut”, “the gamut” or just “gamut”?

  • Leslie Snovelle

    Are both of the examples correct usage of the word gamut?

    In this one “gamut” is used without “a.”

    ESPN’s online arm runs gamut of live sports offerings (USA Today)

    In this one “a gamut” is used.

    The court’s liberal wing strenuously disagreed, offering its own historical construction that emphasized a gamut of restrictions on firearms… (WSJ)

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Shamaine, I believe it depends on how you are using it.

    If you look at the quotations above, you can see it being used directly and with the a article preceding it.

  • Maeve

    Shamaine and Daniel,
    The ESPN quotation is from a headline. For that reason the article “the” has been left out. In the context of a sentence, “gamut” takes an article, usually “the.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/hiestand-tv/2007-11-22-hiestand-weekend_N.htm

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