What does gauge mean? gauge. Noun 1. A measure; a standard of measure; an instrument to determine dimensions, distance, or capacity; a standard 2. An act of measuring. 3. Any instrument for ascertaining or regulating the level, state, dimensions or forms of things; as, a rain gauge; a steam gauge. 4. A thickness of sheet metal or wire designated by any of several numbering schemes. 5. (rail transport) ; The distance between the rails of a railway. 6. (mathematics, analysis) ; A semi-norm; a function that assigns a non-negative size to all vectors in a vector space. 7. (knitting) ; The number of stitches per inch, centimetre, or other unit of distance. 8. (nautical) ; Relative positions of two or more vessels with reference to the wind. For example, A vessel has the weather gauge of another when on the windward side of it, and the lee gauge when on the lee side of it. 9. (nautical) ; The depth to which a vessel sinks in the water. For example, (Can we find and add a quotation of Totten to this entry?) 10. (plastering) ; The quantity of plaster of Paris used with common plaster to make it set more quickly. 11. That part of a shingle, slate, or tile, which is exposed to the weather, when laid; also, one course of such shingles, slates, or tiles. gauge. Verb 1. (transitive) ; To measure or determine with a gauge; to measure the capacity of. 2. (transitive) ; To estimate. 3. (transitive) ; To appraise the character or ability of; to judge of. 4. (textile, transitive) ; To draw into equidistant gathers by running a thread through it. 5. (transitive) ; To mix (a quantity of ordinary plaster) ; with a quantity of plaster of Paris. 6. (transitive) ; To chip, hew or polish (stones, bricks, etc) ; to a standard size and/or shape.