from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A spirited dance in triple time, popular in France in the 1500s and 1600s.
  • noun The music for this dance.
  • adjective Spirited; lively.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Brisk; gay; lively; jaunty.
  • noun A brisk, lively man; a gay, jaunty fellow: as, “Selden is a galliard,”
  • noun A spirited dance for two dancers only, common in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: one of the precursors of the minuet. Also called romanesca.
  • noun Music written for such a dance, or in its rhythm, which is triple and emphatic, but not rapid.
  • noun A term used in northern England for a sandstone or grit of particularly close and uniform texture.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A gay, lively dance. Cf. gailliarde.
  • noun obsolete A brisk, gay man.
  • adjective obsolete Gay; brisk; active.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A lively dance, popular in 16th- and 17th-century Europe
  • noun music The triple-time music for this dance


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

[Middle English gaillard, from Old French gaillart, probably of Celtic origin.]


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  • On p. 64 Arbeau treats of the Lavolta ( 'high lavolt' of Shakespeare), which he says is a kind of galliard well known in Provence.

    Shakespeare and Music With Illustrations from the Music of the 16th and 17th centuries 1900

  • An omnivorous troubadour, he roves from Manchester libraries to Colombian villages to salvage musical traditions – with recordings that move from Berber beats to the raptures of a raga, from the thrilling stillness of an Armenian lament to the sprightliness of an Elizabethan galliard.

    In praise of … Jordi Savall | Editorial 2011

  • I will be answerable that this galliard meant but some

    The Fair Maid of Perth 2008

  • Why, I can be a wild galliard in a corner as well as thou, man.

    The Fair Maid of Perth 2008

  • “I think,” replied Morton, “that if the young galliard resemble a certain ancient friend of ours, as much in the craft of his disposition as he does in eye and in brow, there may be a wide difference betwixt what he means and what he speaks.”

    The Abbot 2008

  • Then she could hear him resume his walk through the room, and, as if his spirits had been somewhat relieved and elevated by the survey of his wardrobe, she could distinguish that at one turn he half recited a sonnet, at another half whistled a galliard, and at the third hummed a saraband.

    The Monastery 2008

  • Alternatively, he may be well aware of the specific and tragic past occasions on which he has heard the galliard, perhaps being able to give detailed affective, temporal, and contextual information about those past experiences, and perhaps even to use this knowledge to work through the revived emotions.

    Memory Sutton, John 2004

  • In a letter to Mersenne, Descartes asks why "what makes one man want to dance may make another want to cry": it may be, he suggests, that the second man has "never heard a galliard without some affliction befalling him", so that he cries

    Memory Sutton, John 2004

  • I did think, by the excellent constitution of thy leg, it was formed under the star of a galliard.

    Twelfth Night; or, What You Will 2004

  • The adventurous contraband trade which prevails throughout these mountain regions, and along the maritime borders of Andalusia, is doubtless at the bottom of this galliard character.

    The Alhambra 2002


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  • A leaping dance, typically done by men. Apparently, though, Queen Elizabeth I would dance one every morning in her nightgown as a form of exercise. (She also, as a model for her people, took a bath every six months whether she needed it or not.)

    April 20, 2008

  • From "A Field of Snow on a Slope of the Rosenberg" by Guy Davenport:

    "And on a fine English day in the high Victorian year 1868, the year of the first bicycle race and the Trades Union Congress at Manchester, of The Moonstone and The Ring and the Book and of the siege of Magdela, four men gathered at Ashley House in London, a house leafy with Virginia creeper, its interior harmoniously dark and bright, like an English forest, dark with corners and doors and halls, with mahogany and teak and drapes as red as cherries, bright with windows, Indian brass, and lamps like moons, Lord Lindsay pollskepped with the hatchels of a cassowary, Lord Adare whose face looked like a silver teapot, and the galliard Captain Wynne."

    January 19, 2010

  • 3. Archaic Spirited; lively; gay. - Century Dictionary

    December 24, 2010

  • "A landsman could hardly have worn this garb and shown his face, and worn and shown them both with such a galliard air, without undergoing stern question before a magistrate, and probably incurring fine or imprisonment, or perhaps an exhibition in the stocks."

    The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

    March 23, 2023