• Agape


    • UK enPR: əgāp´, IPA: /əˈɡeɪp/
    • Rhymes: -eɪp

    Origin 1

    Full definition of agape



    1. Being in a state of astonishment, wonder, expectation, or eager attention; as with mouth hanging open.
      • 1923, Arthur Michael Samuel, The Mancroft essays‎ Chapter Roubiliac (1695-1762), There I stand, agape like any country bumpkin
      • 1980, Joel Flegler, That's all well and good; one can sit, agape, reading the copious liner notes to this or any Explorer record, but it's what's inside the jacket that counts.
      • 1996, Lech J. Majewski, w, The restaurant staff and OTHER DINNER GUESTS watch, agape.
    2. wide open.
      • 1874, Marcus Clarke, For the Term of His Natural Life Chapter VIIIWith his mouth agape and his hands clenched, Rufus Dawes, incapable of further speech, made a last effort to nod assent, but his head fell upon his breast; the next moment, the flickering light, the gloomy prison, the eager face of the doctor, and the astonished face of Vickers, vanished from before his straining eyes.
      • 1995, Sep 24, Stop Me If Yov've Heard this One, In the last frame, he throws back his head and wails, his mouth agape.
      • 1996, August 2, Johnson can fly, and he does it without wings, With dropped jaws and eyes agape, a world beholds the blur of Michael Johnson
      • 2004, Jeffrey C. Carrier, John A. Musick, & Michael R. Heithaus, Biology of Sharks and their Relatives‎, page 171If the slightly agape mouth is closed prior to mouth opening, this is termed the preparatory phase and is more common in suction-feeding bony fishes than elasmobranchs.

    Usage notes

    Almost always used after a noun or noun phrase it modifies.




    1. In a state of astonishment, wonder, expectation, or eager attention.
      • 1987, Jun 26, On the Prowl in Grizzly Country, Three of us--two biologists and I--were crouched behind a huge boulder at the water's edge and staring agape as the largest bear I ever saw came toward us
      • 2005, Sep 24, Angry Surfers Say Cage-Diving Changes Great White's Way, "This is Sammy 91," he told the two dozen tourists watching agape."
      • 2008, Jan 8, Reading gets the glitzy treatment, One features a science teacher looking agape at the camera which has caught him reading red-handed.
    2. open wide.
      • 1911, Jan 7, The Man-killer, Its mouth yawned agape
      • 1996, Perri O'Shaughnessy, Invasion of Privacy‎, page 508The bathroom door stood agape, and the peeling vinyl floor was bare.
      • 2005, Terry Goodkind, Chainfire‎, page 427He glanced up into Richard's eyes, his own wide with wonder, his mouth hanging agape.


    • enPR: ägä´pā, IPA: /əˈɡɑːpeɪ/

    Origin 2

    From Ancient Greek ἀγάπη.



    (plural agapae)
    1. (Christianity) the love of God for mankind, or the benevolent love of Christians for others.
    2. spiritual, altruistic, beneficial love which wills good for others.
    3. a love feast, especially one held in the early Christian Church in connection with the eucharist.
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