When you sit with your mouth open staring at a spectacle and looking silly, this is an example of a time when you gawk at the spectacle.
Origin of gawkprobably variant, variety of gowk
intransitive verbgawked, gawk·ing, gawks
Origin of gawkPerhaps alteration ( influenced by gawk awkward person ) of obsolete gaw to gape from Middle English gawen from Old Norse gā to heed N., probably from English dialectal gawk left ( as in gawk hand left hand )
From a variant of gowk, from Middle English gowke, from Old Norse gaukr (“cuckoo”), from Proto-Germanic *gaukaz (“cuckoo”). Cognate with Danish gøg, Swedish gök, German Gauch, Old English ġēac. More at yeke.
- a simpleton, stupid or clumsy person.
A Middle-Appalachian Americanism, since late 1800s, possibly misconstruing French "gauche," and leading to use of adj gawky for a person or process that is uncoordinated or awkward.
(third-person singular simple present gawks, present participle gawking, simple past and past participle gawked)
Perhaps from Old Norse gá (“to heed”) .