What does the idiom "have the gift of the gab" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase have the gift of the gab, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression have the gift of the gab used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "have the gift of the gab"


The phrase "have the gift of the gab" is an idiom originating in Irish English that is used to describe someone who can talk eloquently in an engaging manner. It typically refers to someone who is a skilled orator and has the ability to influence or persuade others with their words.


The idiom "have the gift of the gab" has its roots in the Irish language, specifically the phrase "Muintir na gCab," which translates as "the people of the gab." This phrase was likely derived from the Irish word "cáb," which means "talk" or "speech." The Irish phrase came to be used in English in the 19th century, and was first recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1883. The idiom was originally used to refer to someone who spoke with great fluency and persuasion, and its use has since become pervasive in the English language.


The idiom "have the gift of the gab" is typically used to describe someone who has an impressive ability to speak. It is usually said to someone who is exceptionally persuasive and able to articulate their thoughts and opinions in an engaging way. This phrase can also be used in a more literal sense to talk about someone who talks a lot, even if they are not necessarily persuasive or eloquent.

Example Sentences

  • My brother has the gift of the gab - he can talk to anyone about anything!
  • She was born with the gift of the gab - she could sway the crowd with her words.
  • He is full of stories - he certainly has the gift of the gab.

The meanings of the words in the "have the gift of the gab" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


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