Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
  • adj. Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement; merry.
  • adj. Bright or lively, especially in color: a gay, sunny room.
  • adj. Given to social pleasures.
  • adj. Dissolute; licentious.
  • n. A person whose sexual orientation is to persons of the same sex.
  • n. A man whose sexual orientation is to men: an alliance of gays and lesbians.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Sexually promiscuous (of either gender).
  • adj. Homosexual:
  • adj. A pejorative:
  • adj. Upright or curved over the back.
  • n. a homosexual, especially a male homosexual; see also lesbian.
  • n. An ornament.
  • n. The name of the letter ⟨—⟩, which stands for the sound IPA: /ɡ/, in Pitman shorthand.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Excited with merriment; manifesting sportiveness or delight; inspiring delight; livery; merry.
  • adj. Brilliant in colors; splendid; fine; richly dressed.
  • adj. Loose; dissipated; lewd.
  • n. An ornament.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Disposed to or excited with merriment or delight; demonstratively cheerful; merry; jovial; sportive; frolicsome.
  • Such as to excite or indicate mirth or pleasure; hence, cheering; enlivening.
  • Bright or lively, especially in color; gaudy; showy: as, a gay dress; a gay flower.
  • Richly or showily dressed; adorned with fine clothing; highly ornamented.
  • Given to pleasure; lively; in a bad sense, given to vicious pleasure; loose; dissipated.
  • Quick; fast. [Prov. Eng.]
  • Pretty long; considerable: as, a gay while. Compare gay, adv. [Prov. Eng. and Scotch.]
  • Bright, brilliant, dashing.
  • n. Anything showily fine or ornamental; a gaud.
  • n. A gay lady; a beautiful lady.
  • n. A print or picture.
  • n. The noon or morning, as the brighter part of the day.
  • Pretty; moderately: as, gay gude.
  • n. A small rut in a path. [Prov. Eng.]

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. brightly colored and showy
  • adj. full of or showing high-spirited merriment
  • adj. homosexual or arousing homosexual desires
  • adj. bright and pleasant; promoting a feeling of cheer
  • n. someone who practices homosexuality; having a sexual attraction to persons of the same sex
  • adj. given to social pleasures often including dissipation
  • adj. offering fun and gaiety

Etymologies

Middle English gai, lighthearted, brightly colored, from Old French, possibly of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English gay, from Old French gai ("joyful, laughing, merry"), probably a borrowing of Old Provençal gai ("impetuous, lively"), from Gothic *𐌲𐌰𐌷𐌴𐌹𐍃 (gaheis, “impetuous”), merging with earlier Old French jai ("merry"; see jay), from Old Frankish *gāhi; both from Proto-Germanic *ganhuz, *ganhwaz (“sudden”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰengʰ- (“to stride, step”), from *ǵʰēy- (“to go”).[2][3] 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. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If a gay man and a gay* woman marry each other it happens would you think it is equally dissembling if they referred to it as a different-sex marriage instead of a straight marriage or a heterosexual marriage?

    The Volokh Conspiracy » “Gay Marriage” or “Same-Sex Marriage”?

  • What a waste Mark is gay...reminds me of a song with dis line ~~all d handsome men are gay~~...haha...

    Welcome to Miami

  • * Dwight is "researching" gays by looking at gay porn because they found out Oscar was gay*

    Original Signal - Transmitting Digg

  • - Little gay· chapero - gay bitch· Bastardo - Bastard·

    RO.RSS

  • -- And you, my young friend, Master Augustine, shall be looked after as well as if you came with a gay brow and a light cheek, such as best becomes the _gay science_. "

    Waverley Novels — Volume 12

  • As a matter of fact, the "New York Times" reported, "While much of his later life was occupied by scholarly questions of the Bible and homosexuality, he came to abhor the label 'gay minister.'"

    Irene Monroe: Rev. Peter Gomes: The Accidental Gay Advocate

  • Sen. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, who was elected in the fall, told a public forum that he won't vote for a bill that uses the term "gay marriage," a spokesman said.

    Gay Marriage Effort Taps GOP Strategists

  • Because it turns out the guy who owns the car, expensive car, by the way, is the owner of a nightclub, and he had on his license plate the term gay, bi-gay, which is, by the way, the name of his club.

    CNN Transcript Sep 25, 2007

  • As a person who is in the middle of college , I still hear the term gay thrown around quite a bit.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • While much of his later life was occupied by scholarly questions of the Bible and homosexuality, he came to abhor the label "gay minister," and pursued a much wider range of studies, on early American religions, Elizabethan Puritanism, church music and the African-American experience.

    NYT > Home Page

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Comments

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  • I'll give you the best help I can:
    Before you up the mountain go,
    Up to the dreary mountain-top,
    I'll tell you all I know.
    'Tis now some two and twenty years,
    Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
    Gave with a maiden's true good will
    Her company to Stephen Hill;
    And she was blithe and gay,
    And she was happy, happy still
    Whene'er she thought of Stephen Hill.

    - William Wordsworth, 'The Thorn', 1798.

    October 9, 2008

  • As an answer to plethora's comment, on another word (I just don't want it to become the "most active thread"):

    I hate it too, and yes, plethora, it's your generation! :-) When I attended high school (I'm 28) it wasn't used that way, at least in Italy.

    August 24, 2008

  • "bonnie and blythe
    and good and gay"

    - check bonnie

    June 18, 2008

  • In the tales of Archy & Mehitabel (Don Marquis, 1916 onwards) the watchword of Mehitabel the cat was "toujours gay archy, toujours gay." Archy was a cockroach who couldn't hack the shift key on the typewriter, so always wrote in lower case.

    June 18, 2008

  • An industrial town near Orenburg, Russia.

    January 1, 2008

  • Yeah--that's probably the most sane policy.

    September 20, 2007

  • For what it's worth, I try not to think too much about other people's reactions anymore. :-)

    September 20, 2007

  • re: sprite—Wow! It is heartening to see how non-flamey that potentially volatile discussion remained.

    Inspired by one of reesetee's comments there, I feel like volunteering this bit of tangential autobiographica: I am bisexual, and trying to figure out when semi-self-referential ironic gay comments are going to be well received, has often proved a challenging social puzzle.

    September 20, 2007

  • Eeeeeek!

    September 20, 2007

  • Not a problem, npydyuan. But whatever else you do here, avoid mentioning the word sprite! ;-)

    September 20, 2007

  • Well, that's a relief. I was referring to the sense of fag identified by SonofGroucho. My logophilia, I'm afraid, is often matched with juvenilia!

    September 19, 2007

  • Just a tad. But not to worry--I'm over it. :-)

    September 19, 2007

  • Hmmm... no emoticon... have I genuinely offended?

    September 19, 2007

  • Er...npydyuan? Easy there.

    September 19, 2007

  • Alas, I am full of woe.

    September 19, 2007

  • I work hard for a living...

    September 18, 2007

  • True enough. :-)

    September 18, 2007

  • But no less bonnie, blythe, and good, I imagine.

    September 18, 2007

  • Interesting, I had no idea what day of the week I was born on, but thanks to the internet, I could look it up! Turns out: Sunday. However I am rather straight. ;-)

    September 18, 2007

  • Alas, I'm Tuesday's child. Apparently I am full of grace. ;-)

    September 18, 2007

  • But the child that is born
    on the Sabbath day is…
    bonnie and blythe
    and good and gay.

    September 18, 2007