'Gage' vs 'Gauge': What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 6, 2023

Should you spell the word as ‘gage’ or ‘gauge’? And what’s the difference? You might be wondering. We’ll go over that in this article, plus teach you how to use the correct spelling of the word in a sentence.

The quick answer is that ‘gage’ is a variant spelling of the word ‘gauge.’ Therefore, they’re both correct. However, ‘gauge’ is much more common. It could also be a shortened version of the word ‘greengage,’ which is a variety of fruit.

‘Gage’ or ‘Gauge’ – Which Spelling is Correct?

As you just learned, both spellings of the word are correct. However, the most common spelling of the word is with the ‘u.’

‘Gage’ vs. ‘Gauge’ – What’s the Difference?

There really isn’t much of a difference between ‘gage’ and ‘gauge.’ But you might not see ‘gage’ as much as ‘gauge.’ That’s because ‘gage’ is a variant spelling of the word.

It also has several other uses, including ‘greengage,’ which is a variety of fruit.

The words could be considered homophones because they sound the same and have different meanings in some cases.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Gage’ and ‘Gauge’ 

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘gage’ is: “a measurement (as of linear dimension) according to some standard or system: such as 1) the distance between the rails of a railroad, 2) the size of a shotgun barrel’s inner diameter nominally expressed as the number of lead balls each just fitting that diameter required to make a pound, 3) the thickness of a thin material (such as sheet metal or plastic film, 4) the diameter or a slender object (such as a wire or hypodermic needle), 5) the fineness of a knitted fabric expressed by the number of loops per unit width.”

It also means: “dimensions, size,” “measure,” and “an instrument for or a means of measuring or testing: such as a) an instrument for measuring a dimension or for testing mechanical accuracy, b) an instrument with a graduated scale or dial for measuring or indicating quality,” “relative position of a ship with reference to another shop and the wind,” “a function introduced into a field equation to produce a convenient form of the equation but having no observable physical consequences.”

Another definition is: “a token of defiance, specifically: a glove cap cast on the ground to be taken up by an opponent as a pledge of combat” and “something deposited as a pledge of performance.”

As a verb, it means: “pledge,” “stake, risk.”

It also means: “greengage.”

A few synonyms of the word include:


  • Guarantee
  • Pledge
  • Guaranty
  • Security
  • Pawn


  • Calculate
  • Estimate
  • Judge
  • Call
  • Figure
  • Conjecture
  • Guess
  • Place
  • Make
  • Reckon
  • Put
  • Suppose

Phrases Containing the Word

You might come across some phrases containing the word ‘gauge.’ Take a look at some examples.

  • Gauge theory
  • Standard gauge
  • Vacuum gauge
  • Pressure gauge
  • Water gauge

How to Use ‘Gage’ and ‘Gauge’ in a Sentence

Now that you know what the words mean, let’s take a look at some examples of how to use them in a sentence.

  • I have to gauge whether now is the right time to emigrate to another country.
  • We couldn’t gauge her mood just based on her expression.
  • Ms. Halverson has to gauge where her class is at by testing them.
  • The gauge on my car has been broken for a while now.
  • Is the water gauge really broken?
  • The pressure gauge needs to be repaired before you get your permit.

Final Advice on ‘Gage’ and ‘Gauge’

Now that you know what both words mean and how to use them in a sentence, you can confidently use them on your own, using the above sentences as a guide.

If you ever get stuck, you can always come back for a quick refresher. We’ve also got a ton of other content on other confusing words and phrases that you might come across while learning the language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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