gulflike, adj.gulfy, adj.
/gulf/, n.
1. a portion of an ocean or sea partly enclosed by land.
2. a deep hollow; chasm or abyss.
3. any wide separation, as in position, status, or education.
4. something that engulfs or swallows up.
5. to swallow up; engulf.
[1300-50; ME go(u)lf < OF golfe < It golfo < LGk kólphos, Gk kólpos bosom, lap, bay]
Syn. 2. canyon, gorge, gully, cleft, rift, split.

* * *

Any large coastal indentation, similar to a bay but larger.

Most existing gulfs were formed or greatly extended as a result of the rise in sea level that accompanied the ending of the last ice age. Some, such as the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Oman, resulted from warping, folding, or downfaulting of the Earth's crust, which caused parts of the shoreline to drop below sea level. Most gulfs are connected with the sea by one or more straits. A gulf may have a group of islands at its mouth or may open into another gulf. Gulfs may differ from the adjoining sea in water properties and sedimentation.
(as used in expressions)
Aden Gulf of
Alaska Gulf of
Aqaba Gulf of
Arta Gulf of
Gulf of Chihli
Bothnia Gulf of
California Gulf of
Carpentaria Gulf of
Fonseca Gulf of
Gdansk Gulf of
Guacanayabo Gulf of
Guinea Gulf of
Illinois Central Gulf Railroad Co.
Khambhat Gulf of
Gulf of Cambay
Laconia Gulf of
Leyte Gulf Battle of
Lion Gulf of
Messenia Gulf of
Mexico Gulf of
Nicoya Gulf of
Oman Gulf of
Paria Gulf of
Persian Gulf War First
Persian Gulf War Second
Riga Gulf of
Saint Lawrence Gulf of
Saint Vincent Gulf
Saint Malo Gulf of
Shelikhov Gulf of
Sidra Gulf of
Gulf of Sirte
Suez Gulf of
Tehuantepec Gulf of
Thailand Gulf of
Gulf of Siam
Tonkin Gulf of
Venice Gulf of
Gulf of Gascony

* * *

 any large coastal indentation. A gulf is similar to a bay both in terms of shape and of origin, but it generally occupies a larger area.

      A brief treatment of gulfs follows. For further discussion, see ocean: Gulfs and bays (ocean).

      Most existing gulfs were formed or greatly extended as a result of the rise in sea level that accompanied the melting of the last Pleistocene glacial ice mass, as vast sections of the continental margins were drowned. Some pronounced coastal concavities, however, have resulted from the warping, folding, or downfaulting of the Earth's crust, which caused large segments of the shoreline to drop below sea level. The Gulf of California and the Gulf of Oman were formed when such tectonic depressions were inundated by the sea.

      Gulfs may occur alone or in groups. Single gulfs generally are formed along linear shores of continents, whereas clusters of gulfs tend to occur along irregular shorelines of complex geologic structure. In most cases, gulfs are connected with the sea by one or more straits. Some gulfs may have a group of islands at their mouths; others may open into another gulf on the opposite side.

      Gulfs may differ from the adjoining sea by virtue of water properties and the processes of sedimentation. Differences of this sort are dictated by the size and shape of a particular gulf as well as by its depth and bottom topography. In a large number of cases, the degree to which a gulf is isolated from the adjacent sea is also a contributing factor.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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