A gay bouquet of flowers.
- The definition of gay is someone or something bright or happy.
An example of gay is a bouquet of flowers with many brilliant colors.
- Gay means a homosexual person.
An example of gay is a man who is only attracted to other men.
- Gay is defined as a homosexual person.
An example of gay is Elton John.
- joyous and lively; merry; happy; lighthearted
- bright; brilliant: gay colors
- given to social life and pleasures: a gay life
- Old-fashioned wanton; licentious
- homosexual: now often used specif. of male homosexuals
- of, for, or relating to homosexuals, often, specif., male homosexuals: gay liberation
- Slang odd, inept, pathetic, etc.: often regarded as offensive because of its derivation from gay sense
Origin of gayMiddle English gai from Old French from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Frankish an unverified form gahi, swift, impetuous, akin to German jäh
- Of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
- Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement; merry.
- Bright or lively, especially in color: a gay, sunny room.
- Offensive Slang Socially inappropriate or foolish.
- Given to social pleasures, especially at the expense of serious pursuits: “You know she is gay, and wild, loves company and mirth, and that it was her impatience of restraint in these things, that made the breach between her and her father” ( Daniel Defoe )
- Dissolute or licentious: “He and his wife led a gay life. He made money fast, and she spent it faster. Eventually, both were broken physically” ( Robert Coleman )
- A person whose sexual orientation is to persons of the same sex.
- A man whose sexual orientation is to men: an alliance of gays and lesbians.
Origin of gayMiddle English gai lighthearted, brightly colored from Old French possibly of Germanic origin
Usage Note: The word gay is now standard in its use to refer to people whose sexual orientation is to the same sex, in large part because it is the term that most gay people prefer in referring to themselves. Although gay can refer to both sexes, often it is used to refer solely to males. When the intended meaning is not contextually evident, the phrases gay and lesbian or lesbian and gay are commonly used. Gay is generally considered objectionable when used as a noun to refer to particular individuals, as in There were two gays on the panel; here phrasing such as Two members of the panel were gay is preferable. But there is no objection to the use of the noun in the plural to refer collectively either to gay men or to gay men and lesbians, so long as it is clear whether men alone or both men and women are being discussed.
(comparative gayer, superlative gayest)
- Happy, joyful, and lively.
- Festive, bright, or colourful.
- Pennsylvania Dutch include the plain folk and the gay folk.
- 1881, J. P. McCaskey (edit), “Deck the Hall[sic]”, Franklin Square Song Collection, number 1, Harper & Brothers (New York), page 120
- Don we now our gay apparel.
- 1944, Ralph Blane, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, Meet Me in St. Louis, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
- Make the Yule-tide gay / From now on our troubles will be miles away
- 1879, House of Commons, Great Britain, Reports from committees, p. 61
- ...it is possible for people to be diseased without being prostitutes or gay women; it is possible for people years ago to have spent a gay life and to have not got rid of their disease, or they may have become diseased by their husbands or lovers.
- 1889, Albert Barrère, Charles Godfrey Leland, A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant: Embracing English, American, and Anglo-Indian Slang, Pidgin English, Tinker's Jargon and Other Irregular Phraseology, Volume 1, p. 399
- Gay (common, loose, dissipated; a "gay woman" or "gay girl," a prostitute. "All gay," vide All gay.
- 1898, John Mackinnon Robertson, G. Aston Singer, "The Social Evil Problem" in The University magazine and free review: a monthly magazine, Volume 9, p. 308
- She imprudently forms the acquaintance of a "gay girl" living in the same street.
- 1899, Henry Fielding, Edmund Gosse, The works of Henry Fielding with an introduction, Volume 11, p. 290
- "As nothing could be more gay, i.e., debauched, than Zeno's court, so the ladies of gay disposition had great sway in it; particularly one, whose name was Fausta, who, though not extremely handsome, was by her wit and sprightliness very agreeable to the emperor.
- (of a person or animal, especially a male person) Possessing sexual and emotional attraction towards members of the same gender or sex.
- (of a romantic or sexual act or relationship) Being between two people of the same gender or the same sex; especially, being between two men.
- Gay marriage, though legal here, is still very controversial.
- Although the number of gay weddings has increased significantly, many gay and lesbian couples — like many straight couples — are not interested in getting married.
- gay sex, gay acts
- (of an institution or group) Intended for gay people, especially gay men.
- She professes an undying love for gay bars and gay movies, and even admits to having watched gay porn.
- In accordance with stereotypes of homosexual people:
- (loosely, of appearance or behavi) Being in accordance with stereotypes of gay people, especially gay men.
- (loosely, of a person, especially a man) Exhibiting appearance or behavior that accords with stereotypes of gay people, especially gay men.
- A pejorative:
- (of a dog's tail) Upright or curved over the back.
- (colloquial) fun, fabulous, tasteful; fashionable. [from 21th c.]
- Her decor is quite gay just in time for the new season. = Her house is decorated fabulously and tastefully.
- Gay has been predominantly used in recent decades in the sense of homosexual and the related senses. The earlier uses of festive, colorful and bright are still found, especially in literary contexts; however, this usage has fallen out of fashion and is now likely to be misunderstood by those who are unaware of the original meaning of the word which dates back to 13th-century Middle English.
- Gay is preferred to homosexual by many gay (homosexual) people as their own term for themselves. Some claim that homosexual is dated and evokes a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness by the mental health community, while others feel that the word homosexuality does not express the emotional aspects of sexual orientation.
- Currently, the usage implying homosexuality and the pejorative description of queerness are both predominant.
"Gay may be regarded as offensive when used as a noun to refer to particular individuals."
From Middle English gay, from Old French gai (“joyful, laughing, merry”), probably a borrowing of Old Provençal gai (“impetuous, lively”), from Gothic (gaheis, “impetuous”), merging with earlier Old French jai ("merry"; see jay), from Frankish *gāhi; both from Proto-Germanic *ganhuz, *ganhwaz (“sudden”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰengʰ- (“to stride, step”), from *ǵʰēy- (“to go”). Cognate with Dutch gauw (“fast, quickly”), Westphalian Low German gau, gai (“fast, quick”), German jäh (“abrupt, sudden”). For more information, see the entries gang and go.
Anatoly Liberman, following Frank Chance and Harri Meier, believes Old French gai was instead a native development from Latin vagus (“wandering, inconstant, flighty”), with *[w] > [g] as in French gaine.
The sense of homosexual (first recorded no later than 1947) was shortened from earlier gay cat ‘homosexual boy’ in underworld and prison slang, itself first attested about 1935, but used earlier for a young tramp or hobo attached to an older one.
The reason behind the recent pejorative usage is not documented, though it is primarily speculated to be due to hostility towards homosexuality.
The sense of ‘upright’, used in reference to a dog’s tail, probably derives from the ‘happy’ sense of the word.
- The name of the letter ⟨—⟩, which stands for the sound IPA: /ɡ/, in Pitman shorthand.