Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "gavel" []

  • A small mallet used by a presiding officer or an auctioneer to signal for attention or order or to mark the conclusion of a transaction. (noun)
  • A maul used by masons in fitting stones. (noun)
  • To bring about or compel by using a gavel: "The chairman . . . tries to gavel the demonstration to an end” ( New Yorker). (verb-transitive)
  • Tribute or rent in ancient and medieval England. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "gavel" in a sentence
  • "Also — and this undercuts the Feingold point, I suppose — Elana Schor reports for TPM that Pat Roberts, one of the worst Senators ever to hold the intelligence-committee gavel, is also backing Panetta."
  • "Nowhere will the impact of Tuesday's Republican gains be clearer than in the likely passing of the speaker's gavel from a San Francisco liberal who banned smoking in part of the Capitol to the heavy-smoking conservative son of a Cincinnati bar owner."
  • "But the notion of a Democratic House without Pelosi wielding the speaker's gavel is not as far-fetched as it might seem."