Complete Definition of "gall"

Old English gealla, from Latin galla, gallnut. There may be a coalescence of two roots, with OE geolu, 'yellow' being the other.

Rhymes: Rhymes:English:-ÉËl|-ÉËl


en-noun|countable galls and uncountable
#anatomy obsolete uncountable bile|Bile, especially that of an animal; the greenish, profoundly bitter-tasting fluid found in bile ducts and gallbladders, structures associated with the liver.
#anatomy The gallbladder.
#: 1611 He shall flee from the iron weapon and the bow of steel shall strike him through. It is drawn and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall. Job 20:24 & 25 KJV

  1. uncountable Great misery or physical suffering, likened to the bitterest-tasting of substances.

#:1611 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood â Deuteronomy 29:18 KJV

  1. countable A blister or tumor-like growth found on the surface of plants, caused by burrowing of insect larvae into the living tissues, especially that of the common oak gall wasp (Cynips quercusfolii).

#:1974 Even so, Redi retained a belief that in certain other cases--the origin of parasites inside the human or animal body or of grubs inside of oak galls--there must be spontaneous generation. Bit by bit the evidence grew against such views. In 1670 Jan Swammerdam, painstaking student of the insect's life cycle, suggested that the grubs in galls were enclosed in them for the sake of nourishment and must come from insects that had inserted their semen or their eggs into the plants. â Dictionary of the History of Ideas.

  1. countable A bump-like imperfection resembling a gall.

#:1653 But first for your Line. First note, that you are to take care that your hair be round and clear, and free from galls, or scabs, or frets: for a well- chosen, even, clear, round hair, of a kind of glass-colour, will prove as strong as three uneven scabby hairs that are ill-chosen, and full of galls or unevenness. You shall seldom find a black hair but it is round, but many white are flat and uneven; therefore, if you get a lock of right, round, clear, glass-colour hair, make much of it. â Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler, Chapter 21.

  1. uncountable A feeling of exasperation.

#:1792 It moves my gall to hear a preacher descanting on dress and needle-work; and still more, to hear him address the British fair, the fairest of the fair, as if they had only feelings. â Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

  1. uncountable An action demonstrating impudence or brazenness; temerity, chutzpah.

#:1918 "Durn ye!" he cried. "I'll lam ye! Get offen here. I knows ye. Yer one o' that gang o' bums that come here last night, an' now you got the gall to come back beggin' for food, eh? I'll lam ye!" and he raised the gun to his shoulder. â Arthur Conan Doyle, The Oakdale Affair, Chapter 6.

  1. medicine obsolete countable A sore or open wound caused by chafing, which may become infected, as with a blister.

#:1892 The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,
#:Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,
And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him,
#:And brought water and fill'd a tub for his sweated body and bruis'd feet,
And gave him a room that enter'd from my own, and gave him some coarse clean clothes,
#:And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,
And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;
#:He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass'd north,
I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean'd in the corner. â Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself", Leaves of Grass''.

  1. countable A sore on a horse caused by an ill-fitted or ill-adjusted saddle; a saddle sore.

#:Riding a horse with bruised or broken skin can cause a gall, which frequently results in the white saddle marks seen on the withers and backs of some horses. â National Ag Safety Database (Centers for Disease Control).

  1. countable A pit caused on a surface being cut caused by the friction between the two surfaces exceeding the bond of the material at a point.


  1. To be troubled or bothered by.

#:1883 I went below, and did what I could for my wound; it pained me a good deal, and still bled freely; but it was neither deep nor dangerous, nor did it greatly gall me when I used my arm. â w:Robert Louis Stevenson|Robert Louis Stevenson, ''w:Treasure Island|Treasure Island, Chapter 27.

  1. To harass, to harry, often with the intent to cause injury.

#:June 24, 1778 The disposition for these detachments is as follows -- Morgans corps, to gain the enemy's right flank; Maxwells brigade to hang on their left. Brigadier Genl. Scott is now marching with a very respectable detachment destined to gall the enemys left flank and rear. â George Washington, The Writings of George Washington From the Original Manuscript Sources: Volume 12, 1745-1799.

  1. To chafe, to rub or subject to friction; to create a sore on the skin.
  2. To exasperate.

#:1979 Metrinko was hungry, but he was galled by how self-congratulatory his captors seemed, how generous and noble and proudly Islamic. â Mark Bowden, "Captivity Pageant", The Atlantic, Volume 296, No. 5, pp. 92-97, December, 1979.

  1. To cause pitting on a surface being cut from the friction between the two surfaces exceeding the bond of the material at a point.

#: Improper cooling and a dull milling blade on titanium can gall the surface

Finnish: ärsyttää (1), suututtaa (1)

Derived terms
gall midge
gall wasp


Latin gallus

gall m

  1. rooster, cock

Category:Catalan nouns

Scottish Gaelic
Irish Gall, a stranger, Englishman, Early Irish gall, foreigner; from Gallus, a Gaul, the Gauls being the first strangers to visit or be visited by the Irish in Pre-Roman and Roman times (Zimmer). for derivation See gal, valour. Stokes takes a different view; he gives as basis for gall, stranger, *gallo-s, Welsh gal, enemy, foe: *ghaslo-? root ghas, Latin hos-tis, English guest. Hence he derives Gallus, a Gaul, so named from some Celtic dialect.
gall m, gen/pl goill

  1. stranger
  2. foreigner

An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language, Alexander MacBain?, Gairm Publications, 1982
category:Scottish Gaelic nouns


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