gad·​about | \ ˈga-də-ˌbau̇t How to pronounce gadabout (audio) \

Definition of gadabout

: a person who flits about in social activity

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Other Words from gadabout

gadabout adjective

Did You Know?

If you had to pick the insect most closely related to a gadabout, you might wryly guess the "social butterfly." But there's another bug that's commonly heard buzzing around discussions of gadabout-the gadfly. Gadfly is a term used for any of a number of winged pests (such as horseflies) that bite or annoy livestock. Since gadflies are known for their nasty bite, it's not surprising that they are named after a sharp chisel or pointed bar used by miners to loosen rock and ore called a gad. But, although a gadabout's gossip can bite, gadfly doesn’t have any clear etymological relation to gadabout, which traces back to the Middle English verb gadden, meaning "to wander without a specific aim or purpose."

Examples of gadabout in a Sentence

she was a thoughtful gadabout, always picking up souvenirs for her friends from wherever her travels took her
Recent Examples on the Web An actress, artist and, in an earlier life, unregenerate gadabout, Ms. Subkoff seemed intent on presenting the world with a shiny, self-assured and elegantly gift-wrapped version of herself. New York Times, "Don’t Call Tara Subkoff an ‘It’ Girl," 14 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gadabout.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of gadabout

1757, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gadabout

from the verb phrase gad about, from gad entry 2

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Time Traveler for gadabout

Time Traveler

The first known use of gadabout was in 1757

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Cite this Entry

“Gadabout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for gadabout


How to pronounce gadabout (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gadabout

sometimes disapproving : a person who goes to many places and social events for pleasure


gad·​about | \ ˈga-də-ˌbau̇t How to pronounce gadabout (audio) \

Kids Definition of gadabout

: a person who goes to many different places for enjoyment

More from Merriam-Webster on gadabout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gadabout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gadabout

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