Run the Gamut

Meaning of Idiom ‘Run the Gamut’

To run the gamut means to extend over an entire range; to experience, display, or peform the complete rang of something; to included everything of a group or type. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,3Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.

Sometimes confused with run the gauntlet.

Usage

The word from is often included, as in the following examples.

Examples Of Use

“He can play anything. He guitar playing runs the gamut from classical to rock. He can even play Asian styles of music.”

“We had quite a talk. It ran the gamut from philosophy to theoretical physics.”

“When drinking, his behavior runs the gamut from entertaining and amusing to downright pathetic and sad.

“I visited an interesting curios shop yesterday. Their inventory ran the gamut from the whimsical to the macabre.”

Origin

Used as an idiom since the mid-1800s. heritage

The word gamut is a contraction of the medievel Latin musical notation gamma ut, where gamma is the lowest note in the musical scale Guido d’Arezzo, and ut is the first six notes. These represent the full range of notes which a voice or instrument can produce.  4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,5Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.

More Idioms Starting with R

More Run Idioms

 

Sources   [ + ]

1, 4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2, 5. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
3. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.