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 ga, 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”) .