What does gavel mean?

Definitions for gavelˈgæv əl

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word gavel.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. gavel(noun)

    a small mallet used by a presiding officer or a judge

Webster Dictionary

  1. Gavel(noun)

    a gable

  2. Gavel(noun)

    a small heap of grain, not tied up into a bundle

  3. Gavel(noun)

    the mallet of the presiding officer in a legislative body, public assembly, court, masonic body, etc

  4. Gavel(noun)

    a mason's setting maul

  5. Gavel(noun)

    tribute; toll; custom. [Obs.] See Gabel

  6. Origin: [OF. gavelle, F. javelle, prob. dim. from L. capulus handle, fr. capere to lay hold of, seize; or cf. W. gafael hold, grasp. Cf. Heave.]


  1. Gavel

    A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle and often struck against a sounding block to enhance its sounding qualities. It is a symbol of the authority and right to act officially in the capacity of a chair or presiding officer. It is used to call for attention or to punctuate rulings and proclamations. It is customarily struck to indicate the opening, keep the meeting itself calm and orderly, and the closing of proceedings, giving rise to the phrase gavel-to-gavel to describe the entirety of a meeting or session. It is also used by judges in the courts of some countries and by auctioneers to signal a sale. The gavel is used in courts of law in the United States and, by metonymy, is used there to represent the entire judiciary system, especially of judgeship; to bring down the gavel means to enforce or compel with the power of a court. It also represents the authority of presiding officers; thus the expression passing the gavel signifies an orderly succession from one chair to another. The sound of the gavel strike, being abrupt to start and stop, and clearly audible by all present, serves to sharply define an action in time in a manner clearly perceivable by all, and to endow the action with practical as well as symbolic temporal finality.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Gavel

    gā′vel, a prov. form of gable.

  2. Gavel

    gav′el, n. an old Saxon and Welsh form of tenure by which an estate passed, on the holder's death, to all the sons equally.—v.t. to divide or distribute in this way.—ns. Gav′elkind, a tenure now peculiar to Kent by which the tenant at fifteen can sell the estate or devise it by will, the estate cannot escheat, and on an intestacy the lands descend from the father to all sons in equal portions; Gav′elman, a tenant holding land in gavelkind. [A.S. gafol, tribute; cog. with giefan, to give.]


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of gavel in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of gavel in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Dennis Hastert:

    The symbol of power is the gavel, if you have the gavel, you have control of the House.

  2. Robert Stavins:

    Patricia Espinosa, with a stroke of the gavel, changed the political norm from 'everybody' to 'almost everybody'.

  3. Wasserman Schultz:

    I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention.

  4. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

    I think the Democrats could have the gavel in 18 months, even some pollsters are saying to us, 'I see a prospect of a wave.' Now, I think right now, today, you won't tell anybody I said this: I see us probably easily winning half the seats -- maybe two-thirds -- with what we have in place.

  5. Nancy Pelosi:

    With only four legislative days left until the Republican Homeland Security Shutdown, Speaker Boehner made it clear that Speaker Boehner has no plan to avoid a government shutdown, the speaker's reliance on talking points and finger-pointing was a sad reflection of the fact that the Tea Party continues to hold the gavel as Senate Democrats insist on Senate Democrats futile anti-immigrant grandstanding.

Images & Illustrations of gavel

  1. gavelgavelgavel

Translations for gavel

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • mazo, dar martillazos, martillo, dar mazazosSpanish
  • nuija, nuijiaFinnish
  • marteauFrench
  • деревянный, председатель, молоток, судьяRussian
  • klubba, ordförandeklubbaSwedish

Get even more translations for gavel »


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"gavel." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 23 Mar. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/gavel>.

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