Does Gaping Mean Yawning?

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:          

Sunday, August 4, 1912:Went to Sunday School this morning. Carrie and I went over to see Florence Crawford this afternoon. I feel so drowsy now, just like gaping.

A recent view of a road into McEwensville

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Carrie refers to Grandma’s close friend Carrie Stout. She is regularly mentioned throughout the diary. I don’t know anything about Florence Crawford. This is the first time (and maybe the only time) that she is mentioned in the diary.

Sounds like Grandma had a nice time with her friends; and that she had that happy, relaxed, sleepy feeling that I sometimes get after a good day.

Is gaping an archaic slang term for yawning?

9 Responses

  1. I looked up the definition in the 1828 Webster. It does look like at one time gaping could be used for yawning.

    Gaping – Opening the mouth wide from sleepiness, dullness, wonder or admiration; yawning; opening in fissures; craving.

    Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary.

  2. Wow Vanbraman, a Webster’s 1828? That’s amazing. I know a few gals named Carrie, seems that name has been around a while. I don’t really think of it as being an ‘ol-timey’ name…neat.

  3. You stumped me too and I also looked it up and it was used for yawning…so I have two new old fashioned words to start using again… “swell” from another blog and now “gaping”… Blessings for a wonderful day! Patty

  4. My dictionary says that “gaping is to open the mouth wide as in yawning or hunger.” Perhaps your Grandmother was reading the dictionary and was just trying the word out to see how it sounded or looked to her on the page????

  5. I had visions of Grandma, half asleep, with her mouth hanging open and a fly finding its way in.

  6. Well, better than “gagging.”

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