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What Is the Gift of the Gab?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 23, 2024
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When a person is said to have the gift of the gab, this usually means he speaks well, easily, and confidently. A person who has the gift of the gab may often find it easy to persuade others, simply based on his comfort with conversation. An individual who is described this way usually has an outgoing personality and has little difficulty getting others to listen to him. The phrase itself, however, is not translated literally. Instead, it is an idiom, which means it is a non-literal expression.

There are many ways to say that a person speaks well and is persuasive. An individual may, however, choose to make this point using a non-literal expression called an idiom. People often use idioms to make points with figurative phrasing. Interestingly, common idioms tend to vary from place to place. As such, if an idiom is unknown to a person who hears it, the speaker may have to explain what he means rather than expecting his listeners to automatically understand.

It may be easier to comprehend the meaning of the phrase when one considers an example. For instance, a salesman may be described as having the gift of the gab after he talks passersby into a purchase. In such a case, he may have engaged them in seemingly friendly conversation and then smoothly moved on to his sales pitch without making it obvious that the point of the conversation had changed. By the time the salesman finished talking, the customers may have become enthusiastic about the product and ready to buy, even if it was something they didn’t need or want beforehand.

The phrase can also be used in a situation in which a person is effective in talking himself out of trouble. For example, if an individual breaks a traffic law and manages to talk a police officer out of giving him the ticket he deserves, people may describe him as having the gift of the gab. This description may also be used for a person who talks a teacher into giving him a higher grade or his mother out of punishing him.

Generally, people who are said to have the gift of the gab are charismatic and outgoing. People often enjoy having conversations with them and listening to them speak. In fact, a person may state that he enjoys listening to a person who has this gift, even if he doesn't necessarily like what the speaker is saying.

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Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a Language & Humanities writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By pollick — On Feb 17, 2014

I think it's important to recognize the difference between having the gift for gab and having an urge to fill the air with words. People with a true gift of the gab usually choose their words carefully for maximum effect. By the time they're finished talking, the audience is primed to take whatever the next step might be. A customer will be going home in a new car or voting for the next president of the United States.

Some people, however, can use as many words as possible and still not be saying anything remotely persuasive. In fact, the excessive speech often has the opposite effect on the audience. They become even more convinced to look elsewhere for a car or to vote for the other candidate.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a Language & Humanities writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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