The Gorge is the "builder" alien (Kharaa) in the Half-life mod Natural Selection. To become a gorge, the player must have sufficient resources (or in combat mode, have gained enough experience to level up) and then use the right-click menu to "evolve" into the new form. While still slow and weak, a few changes have been made to the gorge since its inception that makes a gorge on the frontlines a dangerous foe indeed, with the proper support. Gorges have very limited direct assault abilities, and requires an escort when facing even a single unupgraded marine.

The gorge is pig-like in appearance, which has caused players to nickname the creature "Fatty", as used in such statements as "I'm going fatty hunting" and "Kill the fatty!"

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In the 1.0x versions of the game, the Gorge's weapons were as follows:
  • SLOT 1, Requiring No Hives: Spit
  • SLOT 2, Requiring One Hive: Healspray
  • SLOT 3, Requiring Two Hives: Web
  • SLOT 4, Requiring Three Hives: Babblers
In 2.0 and latter versions, the Gorge's weapons were changed to:
  • SLOT 1, Requiring No Hives: Spit
  • SLOT 2, Requiring One Hive: Healspray
  • SLOT 3, Requiring Two Hives: Bile Bomb
  • SLOT 4, Requiring Three Hives: Web
Spit is one of the few ranged weapons in the Kharaa arsenal, and the cheapest as well, not counting the Skulk's parasite which is practically not even a weapon. It fires a quick moving dodgable projectile that does a small amount of damage. The number of hits to kill a marine with spit has varied throughout the versions, but suffice it to say, it doesn't deal enough damage that you can really consider going toe to toe with any marine force at all. It's best just to run away. Gorge spit can be used to remotely detonate marine mines, and is best used for this purpose. In 1.0x versions, the map Bast had a vent leading into the marine base that could be welded shut... but the gorge could then spit it open permanently. Spit can damage both structures and marines alike.

Healspray is one of the most useful weapons in the gorge's arsenal. This fires a thick mist that heals any friendly unit or structure, including hives, for a significant amount of health. Furthermore, it also damages any marines hit by it. While dealing less damage and having a shorter range than spit, most gorges use healspray exclusively when fighting marines due to it's wide, if short, range. By hopping in circles around a lone marine, it is sometimes possible to dodge enough shots that the marine will fall from the slow but constant gassing you are giving him. Do note that although the spray range is limited, it is not as limited as the graphic might lead you to believe... the range does extend a fair distance out from where the graphic ends. Healspray works only on organic things, dealing no damage at all to enemy structures which are made of metal.

Web was a staple of 1.0x gameplay. These partially transparent strands could be spread between two walls, and any marine touching it would be stuck, unable to fire or move more than inches for a short period of time. This time stacked with more webs, and webs could be overlapped to great use. The perfect gorge ploy was to build offense chambers around a corner, web the way in, and watch your kill count soar. Once touched, webs were destroyed, and marines could use a welder to safely remove webs as well. However, a gorge with webs is a fearsome sight to behold, as it can quickly lay them down in the middle of a fire fight and trap any marine instantly, leaving them susceptible to spit or healspray or any other alien that may be nearby. The only limitation is that webs were not limited. Because the server needs to be able to keep track of all webs active in the game, there was a limit you could reach beyond which webs would stop forming. The game unfortunately does not tell you how many webs are left to be placed, and this limit is cumulative for all gorges. A lamer can waste a team's entire supply of webs by placing them all in an unused corner somewhere.

Bile Bomb was formerly a Fade weapon, given to the gorge instead for all versions beyond 2.0 and nerfed considerably. In the Fade's hands, this was a room clearing devastator that slaughtered marines and buildings alike. In the mouth of the gorge, however, it lost its ability to damage marines at all, dealing damage only to structures. In 2.0x, it was very effective at taking out structures indeed, smashing through vast numbers of turrets or other building with just a few volleys, but in 3.0x it was nerfed further, dealing considerably less damage. Still, the large blast radius of Bile Bomb makes it a useful tool in clearing out large marine installations.

Babblers were actually a placeholder weapon for the gorge, used in 1.0x versions until something better could be thought up. Using snark AI, babblers created a skulk clone that would supposedly chase after marines and kill them. Unfortunately, they were more prone to run into walls and spin idly in circles than actually hunt marines, and they had so little health that they popped like balloons with even a few rounds put into them. To make matters worse, sometimes they would get bored and attack the gorge that created them! And to top it all off, they put a lot of processor strain on the server, creating lag and slowing down the game. Babblers are gone, and not coming back, and yet many fans of the game still remember them fondly. Their one use was that they looked identical to skulks, and so if you fired off a group of them while a bunch of real skulks rushed in, the marines would waste a few rounds shooting the clones instead. But since in 1.0x versions, marines had already lost if the aliens got three hives, this was more of a novelty any less of something that was actually useful. Strategically, this only came into play after the game was over.

But wait! There's more! Weapons aren't the reason to play a gorge! Gorges are the only aliens in the game capable of placing structures, including the all important hives! Structures the gorge can build include:

  • Defense Chamber
    Defensive chambers, in all versions from 1.0 to 3.0b4, are the most useful chambers the gorge can build. They act as healing stations for any alien that approaches it, and even heals structures. Placed in vast numbers, in some versions they made buildings practically impervious to all attacks, as any damage dealt would be healed immediately. These became known as Walls of Lame, and though limitations have been placed on Defense Chambers since then, the name still refers to any blockade made of a combination of offense and defense chambers, despite no longer being lame.

    Defense chambers also allow aliens to evolve defense upgrades-- a choice between Carapace, Regeneration, and Redemption.

  • Movement Chamber
    The value of the movement chamber should not be underestimated. Any alien that presses "Use" on a movement chamber is instantly teleported to the furthest hive. Furthermore, if a hive ever comes under attack, Movement Chambers teleport the alien to the hive in danger, whether it be the farthest or not. These are almost always placed in each of the three hives, and allows the aliens to quickly traverse large distances, granting considerable map control. In versions 2.0 and later, Movement Chambers also provide extra adrenaline to nearby aliens, which is rarely worth the resources it costs to put one of these things down. However, during the end game, while trying to dislodge the marines from their home base, a few of these can allow for non-stop Bile Bomb and Acid Rocket and Poison Spore bombardment from a distance.

    Movement chambers also allow aliens to evolve movement upgrades-- a choice between Celerity, Adrenaline, and Silence.

  • Sensory Chamber
    Sensory chambers, in the 1.0x versions, were worse than useless. Whenever a marine came within a certain range of them, it would cause all aliens to hear "The Enemy Approaches". The problem was that it rarely actually heralded a real attack, no one listened to the voice (which was very annoying indeed) and if they were placed anywhere except in your hive, false alarms would spring up all over the place. Additionally, if a marine walked up and TOUCHED the chamber, it would parasite that marine, but since marines have ranged weapons, this never ever happened.

    In 2.0 and latter versions, the voice was removed, the parasite on touch was removed, and instead, the chambers exuded a cloaking field, making any alien or chamber, including itself, invisible within range of the chamber. This cloaking is in effect even if the alien being cloaked is running full tilt. This makes putting up a "sensory network" very useful indeed. Alas, due to the cloaking counters available to the marines, this is only very useful in the early game, and since there is a limit of one chamber-type per hive and defense chambers are useful throughout the entire length of the game, sensory chambers are only ever built last, well after they are really useful. There is speculation that the one chamber-type per hive restriction will be lifted in future version though, which would enable these things to finally see some use. Sensory chambers also allow aliens to evolve sensory upgrades-- a choice between Cloaking, Scent of Fear, and another upgrade depending on your version

  • Offense Chamber
    The offense chamber is the alien turret, firing spikes at marines who come into range. Unfortunately, that range is not as long as marine weapons, so placement is crucial. Supported by defense chambers, these can hold territory against wandering marines, and in some older versions (1.03 to be specific) could be made invulnerable to enemy attack with enough defense support. In newer versions of the game, offense chambers have received a number of additional nerfs, making them little more than speed bumps. Fortunately, when attacks, a voice alerts the entire alien team and hivesight displays the location, making them at the very least an early warning system for hive attacks. Offense chambers are not linked to hives, and can be built at anytime as long as the resources are available. They unlock no upgrades.
  • Resource Tower
    In order to gain the resources to evolve to more powerful aliens or place more chambers, towers must be built to collect resources. These towers can only be placed on resource nodes which are fixed points on each game map. The resources they collect are distributed amongst the entire team, so the larger the team, the thinner the resources are spread. In 1.0x versions, gorges received a triple share, and since the gorges needed the resources the most, only one person could reasonably go gorge at a time, less the aliens become totally starved. 2.0 removed this extra share, meaning that more gorges does not mean slower growth.
  • Hive
    The big one. Hives take a very long time to build, and can only be built in one of three locations on any given map. One hive is prebuilt for you at the start of the game. More hives grant more weapons, improve armor absorption, and also act as spawn points. As only one alien may spawn per hive at a time, more hives mean more units able to attack the enemy at a time. Furthermore, because they are spaced throughout the map, in conjunction with movement chambers they provide excellent map coverage. And of course, if the aliens lose all their hives, they can no longer respawn and thus lose the game. In 1.0x versions, hives also limited the amount of resources you could have, to 33 resources at one hive, 66 at two, and 100 at three. Since Fades required between 40 and 60 resources to evolve, and the mighty Onos required 70, the addition of extra hives allowed higher evolutions. This restriction was lifted for version 2.0.
Recommended upgrades for the gorge:
Defense Chamber
Carapace is useful if you know you're going to be hanging around defense chambers you've built a lot. In this case, it means a significantly expanded life expectancy, even if set upon by marines. Most of the time. You still can't face Heavy Machine Gun fire, or a Grenade Launcher, or a siege cannon... but very little lets you face those anyway.

Regeneration is good for when you know you're going to need to travel across the map alone. With regeneration, it's just barely possible to kill a single marine if he's also alone, and unupgraded, and if you yourself are very good.

Redemption was practically made for the gorge. It enables you to save all those resources you've been hoarding. Redemption has a chance of teleporting you back to the nearest hive when your health is low, so this basically gives you extra lives, as far as the gorge is concerned. Not having to spend the resources to re-evolve to gorge is very useful indeed.

Movement Chamber
Celerity is useful for retreats. If you can outrun the marine, and you will with this upgrade, you don't have to worry as much about being killed. You can still be caught offgaurd, of course, but it gives you a better chance.

Silence lets you build chambers right around the corner from a marine installation unnoticed. Without it, they will surely hear the gurgling noises you make when building something.

Adrenaline allows you to take out enemy structures much, MUCH faster. At two hives, you can keep lobbing those bile bombs. At one hive, you can support your offense chambers with spit. This is the preferred gorge movement upgrade.

Sensory Chamber
Cloaking will let you build in peace, well... usually. It'll help you hide, but without silence, they can still hear you, and they will find you since you are slow. Gorges don't walk, they waddle. It might be better to just put down a sensory chamber to hide your activities instead.

Scent of Fear will enable you to see the marines coming. Make a hasty retreat! This is the best gorge sensory upgrade, because you can use it to get out of the way in time.

Adv. Hive Sight is worthless, and was removed in version 2.0 anyway. Don't bother.

Pheromones is worthless in comparison to Scent of Fear, and was removed in 3.0 anyway. Don't bother.

Focus is used to great effect by those who have very very good aim. Since Focus only applies to the first slot, namely, spit, it can be used to kill marines from a distance if you are accurate enough. The trick is, you REALLY need to be VERY accurate, as your rate of fire will be slow enough that you really only get one shot at a time. Try it out, if you can work with it, good, if not, don't bother. Leave focus for the melee classes.

A thousand years later, Humanity finally reached that magical point that had been anticipated since the dawn of mass media: the day when it became quicker, cheaper, safer and easier to go to the stars and look at them up close than to squint at them through mind-bogglingly powerful telescopes.

It was then that the Space Age - the REAL Space Age - began in earnest. Having long since built themselves perfect worlds on nearly every rock in the Solar System large enough to moor a habbubble, there remained nothing else in the universe more attractive to Humanity at large than the prospect of finally taking to the stars en masse. So it was that planet after planet orbiting star after star became home to new families of Humans, living under new skies and adapting to new environments, breeding new animals and looking at each other and the worlds around them with ever-new eyes. At last, the Human race was out of the cradle - at last, it no longer had a single point of failure. The future never seemed so expansive, the possibilities never so endless.

It was in the year CE 3198 that the UAAE Jasper Jaeyo set off around the curve of the galactic rim, far beyond the sphere of inhabited space, on a mission to circumnavigate the galactic centre and map every step of the way.

By thirteen years into the mission, the crew of the Jasper Jaeyo had stellar cartography and astrometry refined to a fine art. As the Jaeyo bored its jagged, counterintuitive space-filling fractal route, a 500-strong fleet of smaller, manned craft followed it, connected invisibly to the mothership by fine holeworm threads. Each smaller craft flitted from stellar system to stellar system on the Jaeyo's route, deploying dozens of their own autonomous drones in each system to study its gas giants, terrestrial planets, comets, asteroids and parent star or stars. Meanwhile the manned craft swept onwards, covering more systems in the same way - typically, two or three dozen each in a standard day - continously gathering and collating telemetry, and occasionally capturing small comets to manufacture new drones, or returning to the mothership to exchange crew and undergo maintenance.

This was the routine which gradually came to be abandoned on the discovery of planet 0099-4836/010-D.

The anomalous data was only received a few hours after the subcraft Culver had left the system, and it was another two hours before confirmation arrived from a second drone and the Culver's subcaptain elected to backtrack and check the mysterious grey planet out. The drones' data proved accurate. Here was a planet, not substantially bigger than Sol-Earth, in a very much Sol-Earth-like orbit around a very much Sol-like single star, yet absolutely perfectly smooth - a blank slate, an oblate spheroid with an equatorial radius of 6,988 kilometres and a polar radius of 6,966, smooth to as many decimal places as the Culver's instruments could determine. There was no trace of atmosphere nor of variation in the pale grey colouring of its surface. There were no mountains, no tectonic plates, no plateaus, no geographical features, nothing.

There were no impact craters. At all.

Damodomad, the subcaptain of the Culver, ordered a kinetic probe to be shot into the planet; a spectrographic analysis of the debris propelled into space from the impact point showed the planet to be made mostly of something approaching magnesium steel, with a finely graded mixture of surprisingly complex chemicals mixed in with it.

Further kinetic probes at the planet's pole and equator gave similar readings; seismic readings of the impacts' passage through the planet's interior suggested it consisted of the same substance all the way through, or at least to the depth at which pressure forced it to become liquid.

Domad ordered a drone to land on the planet's surface and retrieve a sample. Contact was lost with the drone immediately after it landed.

The same happened with the second drone, even though it landed much more carefully than the first, using an entirely different method of propulsion method which should have seen it land with less force than a feather.

The third drone was specifically configured to deliver extremely high-speed live internal telemetry even as it landed. A short time after it, too, became unresponsive, preliminary analysis of the telemetry revealed that the drone had been consumed by a sort of grey wave - consumed from the landing legs upwards to the radio dish in a matter of milliseconds.

It was exactly one standard day after the planet had been discovered that the UAAE Jasper Jaeyo itself arrived in the 0099-4836/010 system, having altered course to support the Culver. Ten further subcraft had also joined them along with countless extra drones.

The Culver docked with its parent one astronomical unit above the star's north pole.

"So what are we actually looking at here?" asked captain Ekrem Merke of the Jasper Jaeyo. They were on the bridge of the ship, a gigantic three-dimensional panoramic projection of the planet spread out below them, scattered with neon blue crosshairs representing other vessels.

"You may have heard of the Blue-Age Mimas colony disaster from your history lessons," said Domad, taking a sheaf of paper from his assistant and shuffling through the pages. "We're hypothesising that something very similar happened here, only on a vastly larger scale. We believe that at one point this planet had intelligent inhabitants. Their nanotechnology was advanced, more than ours is even now. They, whoever they were, did what the Unknown Miman did - created a primitive nanobot with a very simple set of instructions: while one, propagate."

"Suicide. That's the first lesson in basic nanotechnology. First, program the off switch. Everybody knows that."

"Quite right. It is a VERY simple and obvious mistake to make, which itself casts doubt on the supposition that it was a mistake at all. The circumstances surrounding this event are purely guesswork at this point, but releasing the nanofungus could indeed have been intentional suicide. Accidentally creating a bot which can chew up a life-support computer's innards' worth of doped silicon transistors like the Unknown Miman did is easy. Building a bot capable of swallowing an entire planet is something you simply cannot do by accident unless you have a very high-level programming language and a very pseudointelligent basic spore at your disposal. At that scale, power generation and chemical decomposition become significant enough factors that a simple eternal propagator would not be intelligent enough to handle by itself.

"Anyway. Regardless of how it happened, it's happened. The bot probably swept out the entire planet's surface over the course of months or years. Once everything on the surface was consumed it had nowhere to go - so it obeyed its initial instructions and began to slurp up the planet's atmosphere too, and to eat downwards as far as possible towards its core. The planet became smoothed over because this was the most efficient configuration - then, once it reached the point where nothing more could be consumed, the fungus simply idled, waiting for more consumables to present themselves."

"Which explains the absence of impact craters."

"Exactly, sir. I arranged for a smallish asteroid to be dropped on the planet to see what would happen, we can show you that right now. This is sped up by a factor of thirty..."

A holographic asteroid faded into being some distance above the holographic planet, and fell in towards it under gravity. Merke stood up and went over to squint close at the asteroid as it fell, then at the growing patch of bare grey metal where it was going to hit. Then he stood back to watch the impact.

"The asteroid itself takes several hours to be completely broken down, but the impact crater itself, you'll notice, is flattened much earlier in the timeline. We doped the asteroid with a radioisotope we could track from low orbit and found that the new concentrations of elements brought by interplanetary impacts are distributed evenly around the rest of the planet very rapidly. Which means there could have been a thousand similar impacts and we'd find no evidence of it. This planet could have been sitting here for potentially hundreds of millions of years."

Merke turned from the hologram towards the live display of the fleet's in-system deployment. He took a few steps towards it, taking in the gigantic array of figures attached to each blip.

"Hundreds of millions of years?" he asked, turning around.

"Possibly even billions," said the subcaptain. "We just don't know."

"Millions of years, sitting here, looking for something to eat. Sitting here thinking about finding new things to eat. Waiting for something new to eat to come along... Give me a detailed scan of the surface of this planet. I know we already have one, run it again. Find anomalies."

A young ensign named Beryt soon answered: "Three anomalies, sir. Moderate thruster activity and tentative holeworm drive signatures. Satellite scans show some sort of narrow pinnacles taking shape at the locations where... where each of the probes landed. They... they seem to be... rockets. They're taking shape incredibly quickly..."

"Navigator, plot a course back to Sol. Straight path. No deviations. Do it right now. Engage the moment it's done. Maximum velocity."

Domad protested, "Sir, this must be normal behaviour! The rest of the celestial bodies in this star system are untainted. Think about what that means!"

Beryt cried, "We have ignition at the first landing site! The other two rockets have just disappeared but we're tracking their threads—"

Two red emergency lights lit up on the fleet graphic. Both were in close proximity to the grey planet. Four more in higher orbit lit up a second later, just as the first two faded to empty blue-edged squares, symbolising lost contact. In an eyeblink twenty more were lit. That was the whole complement of in-system ships.

The Jaeyo was already a light-day out of the system and accelerating.

Something slug-like, dark and difficult for the Jaeyo's computer sensors to get a grip on, accelerated out of the blue-lit system behind them, and off at an angle, towards another nearby star. As the image of the system shrank behind them, more black slug-things were detected heading in other directions, targeting other systems. Ships of the greater fleet began to appear at the edges of the display as the field of view widened - red lights were already crawling over their scattered formations.

None of the ships, not even the probes, had weapons.

Obeying the emergency "Follow me" command issued manually by Captain Merke, only a handful of the swiftest subcraft were able to escape the expanding maelstrom of hungry nanotechnology. They fell into a defensive pattern behind the Jaeyo, holding steady in its slipstream as it forged a superluminal path ahead. No signs of pursuit were detected, but could that be held to signify anything? Detecting a ship-sized object which didn't want to be found, even at a distance of mere light-seconds, was all but impossible. All ships and drones of the Jaeyo fleet carried beacons for precisely this reason.

Five days into the race home, the combined engineering forces of the surviving eight vessels succeeded in transplanting the Jaeyo's primary holeworm drive into the chassis of the lightest capable subcraft, the Bluearck. It would take an estimated six months to reach Sol, redlining all the way. Behind them, the sphere of influence of the nanofungus was already two hundred light years wide.

There was hope that Sol could be reached and Humanity at large warned before the first slugs arrived in Human space. But who knew what a million-year-old planet-sized brain could do? Who knew how fast it could build its fastest messengers, now that it knew what space travel was?

Gorge (?), n. [F. gorge, LL. gorgia, throat, narrow pass, and gorga abyss, whirlpool, prob. fr. L. gurgea whirlpool, gulf, abyss; cf. Skr. gargara whirlpool, gr. to devour. Cf. Gorget.]


The throat; the gullet; the canal by which food passes to the stomach.

Wherewith he gripped her gorge with so great pain.

Now, how abhorred! . . . my gorge rises at it.


A narrow passage or entrance; as:


A defile between mountains.


The entrance into a bastion or other outwork of a fort; -- usually synonymous with rear. See Illust. of Bastion.


That which is gorged or swallowed, especially by a hawk or other fowl.

And all the way, most like a brutish beast,
e spewed up his gorge, that all did him detest.


A filling or choking of a passage or channel by an obstruction; as, an ice gorge in a river.

5. (Arch.)

A concave molding; a cavetto. Gwilt.

6. (Naut.)

The groove of a pulley.

Gorge circle (Gearing), the outline of the smallest cross section of a hyperboloid of revolution. --
Gorge hook, two fishhooks, separated by a piece of lead. Knight.


© Webster 1913

Gorge, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Gorged (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Gorging (?).] [F. gorger. See Gorge, n.]


To swallow; especially, to swallow with greediness, or in large mouthfuls or quantities.

The fish has gorged the hook.


To glut; to fill up to the throat; to satiate.

The giant gorged with flesh.

Gorge with my blood thy barbarous appetite.


© Webster 1913

Gorge, v. i.

To eat greedily and to satiety. Milton.


© Webster 1913

Gorge, n. (Angling)

A primitive device used instead of a fishhook, consisting of an object easy to be swallowed but difficult to be ejected or loosened, as a piece of bone or stone pointed at each end and attached in the middle to a line.

Circle of the gorge (Math.), a minimum circle on a surface of revolution, cut out by a plane perpendicular to the axis. --
Gorge fishing, trolling with a dead bait on a double hook which the fish is given time to swallow, or gorge.


© Webster 1913

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