One theory is as convincing as it is wicked: we gawk when the mighty fall because we take glee in their disgrace.
Everyone was trying to get a word with The Donald, or just get close and gawk.
Medical students in their first or second year appeared in white coats to gawk from the doorway.
More than 50,000 cars passed along Quiet Dell Road so people could gawk.
That seemed to be good enough for the few hundred kids who had gathered to gawk at the boy billionaire.
Billy the gawk was not alone in thinking that he could outwit the Bishop.
Bridget may have been a gawk, but she did two things which were not gawkish.
The State is a mirage which the citizen is made to gawk at in the air, thinking he sees something besides the frowning German sky.
It made me laugh to see the gawk skulking along in the rear.
In the library and parlor, he confesses he is as a gawk or one dumb.
1785, American English, perhaps from gaw, a survival from Middle English gowen "to stare" (c.1200), from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse ga "to heed," from Proto-Germanic *gawon-, from PIE *ghow-e- "to honor, revere, worship" (see favor (n.)); and altered perhaps by gawk hand (see gawky). Liberman writes that it "need not have been derived from gowk. It is possibly another independent imitative formation with the structure g-k. Related: Gawked; gawking.
To stare; gape stupidly: locals gathered to gawk at strange lights/ They went in and out of the garage to gawk at the body
[1785+; fr dialect gawk, gouk, ''fool, idiot,'' literally ''cuckoo'']