gulf

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From French golfe, from Italian golfo, from Late Latin colfos, from Ancient Greek κόλπος (kólpos, bosom, gulf).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

gulf (plural gulfs)

  1. A hollow place in the earth; an abyss; a deep chasm or basin.
    • Milton
      He then surveyed / Hell and the gulf between.
    • Bible, Luke xvi. 26
      Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed.
  2. (obsolete) That which swallows; the gullet.
  3. That which swallows irretrievably; a whirlpool; a sucking eddy.
    • Tennyson
      a gulf of ruin, swallowing gold
  4. (geography) A portion of an ocean or sea extending into the land; a partially landlocked sea
    the Gulf of Mexico
    the Persian Gulf
  5. (mining) A large deposit of ore in a lode.
  6. A difference, especially a large difference, between groups
    • 2012 September 7, Phil McNulty, “Moldova 0-5 England”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      England were graphically illustrating the huge gulf in class between the sides and it was no surprise when Lampard added the second just before the half hour. Steven Gerrard found his Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson and Lampard arrived in the area with perfect timing to glide a header beyond Namasco.
  7. (Oxbridge slang) The bottom part of a list of those awarded a degree, for those who have only just passed.
    • 1852, Bristed, Charles Astor, Five Years in an English University, page 205:
      Some ten or fifteen men just on the line, not enough to be plucked or good enough to be placed, are put into the "gulf," as it is popularly called (the Examiners' phrase is "Degrees allowed"), and have their degrees given to them but are not printed in the calendar, nor were they at this time allowed to try for the Classical Tripos.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

gulf (third-person singular simple present gulfs, present participle gulfing, simple past and past participle gulfed)

  1. (Oxbridge slang, transitive) To award a degree to somebody who has only just passed sufficiently.
    • 1852, Bristed, Charles Astor, Five Years in an English University, page 228–229:
      The mention of gulfed and plucked men brings me back to myself.
    • 1863, Kingsley, Henry, Austin Elliot, page 123:
      The good Professor scolded, predicted that they would all be either gulfed or ploughed.
    • 1876, Trevelyan, Sir George Otto, The life and Letters of Lord Macaulay[2], volume 1, page 83:
      Everyone who knows the Senate House may anticipate the result. When the Tripos of 1822 made its appearance his name did not grace the list. In short, to use the expressive vocabulary of the university, Macaulay was gulfed:—a mishap which disabled him from contending for the Chancellor's medals, then the crowning trophies of a classical career.