gallant

1 of 3

adjective

gal·​lant
(usually in sense 2)
ˈga-lənt How to pronounce gallant (audio) gə-ˈlant How to pronounce gallant (audio)
(usually in sense 3)
gə-ˈlänt How to pronounce gallant (audio)
1
: showy in dress or bearing : smart
2
a
: splendid, stately
a gallant ship
b
: spirited, brave
gallant efforts against the enemy
c
: nobly chivalrous and often self-sacrificing
3
: courteously and elaborately attentive especially to ladies
gallantly adverb

gallant

2 of 3

noun

1
: a young man of fashion
2

gallant

3 of 3

verb

gal·​lant gə-ˈlant How to pronounce gallant (audio) -ˈlänt How to pronounce gallant (audio)
gallanted; gallanting; gallants

transitive verb

1
: to pay court to (a lady) : attend
used to gallant her in his youthWashington Irving
2
obsolete : to manipulate (a fan) in a modish manner

intransitive verb

: to pay court to ladies
Choose the Right Synonym for gallant

civil, polite, courteous, gallant, chivalrous mean observant of the forms required by good breeding.

civil often suggests little more than the avoidance of overt rudeness.

owed the questioner a civil reply

polite commonly implies polish of speech and manners and sometimes suggests an absence of cordiality.

if you can't be pleasant, at least be polite

courteous implies more actively considerate or dignified politeness.

clerks who were unfailingly courteous to customers

gallant and chivalrous imply courteous attentiveness especially to women.

gallant suggests spirited and dashing behavior and ornate expressions of courtesy.

a gallant suitor of the old school

chivalrous suggests high-minded and self-sacrificing behavior.

a chivalrous display of duty

Examples of gallant in a Sentence

Adjective The defenders of the fort made a gallant stand. They failed to reach the summit, but they made a gallant attempt. He greeted her with a gallant bow. He offered her his seat in a gallant gesture. Noun he was quite a gallant, primping more than either of his sisters she had a whole host of gallants vying for her hand in marriage
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Posey became recognizable throughout Philadelphia for his fine clothes and gallant demeanor. Ramin Ganeshram, New York Times, 20 Feb. 2024 This council made a gallant effort to socialize this City Charter mandate. Detroit Free Press, 7 Feb. 2024 There’s the sob story, the gallant bildungsroman, the louche chronicle of various addictive behaviors, the righteous making of an activist, the victory lap. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2023 Ninety-five years later, the novelist Miguel de Cervantes put this adventure novel on the imagined bookshelf of his gallant picaresque dreamer, Don Quixote de la Mancha — a true Californian if ever there was one. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2023 Through her friendship with Dorothy, and a love affair with a gallant American fighter pilot named Hans, Irene learns to trust again. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 6 July 2023 Fiennes exhibits that side of him without apology, which only makes his gallant side feel all the more genuine. Joe Reid, Vulture, 26 June 2023 The result ruined a steely performance from New England’s rookie signal-caller, Bailey Zappe, who along with a gallant defense, kept his club in it after starter Brian Hoyer left with a concussion in the first quarter. Amin Touri, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Oct. 2022 Boxed with 300 meters remaining, Thomas made a gallant late surge. Steve Brand, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 May 2023
Noun
And then Emily spies the ring that’s slipped out of Luke’s pocket, spurring him to drop clumsily to one knee, red of lip but gallant of spirit, and offer up a sweet if singularly indecent proposal. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2023 Their resistance captured imaginations in the West; British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other European leaders hailed gallant Finland. Stephen Kotkin, Foreign Affairs, 6 Apr. 2022 The Indian army’s new helmet, dubbed Veer, or gallant in Hindi, would be worn on top of the patka but replace the turban. Anant Gupta, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2023 As wartime occupations go, this was a gentle—indeed, gallant—affair. Brad Leithauser, WSJ, 28 May 2021 Face towels often look mighty similar to hand towels, and my finicky skin can't stand taking any chances—which is where my Weezie Makeup Towels provide a gallant save. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 3 Mar. 2021 My Government will continue to invest in our gallant Armed Forces. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, 14 Oct. 2019 The 2018 court included promenade girls, gallants, demoiselles, jewel-bearers and the queen. Sue Strachan, NOLA.com, 1 Apr. 2018 Housewives surrendered their gold jewelry in a gallant, but futile attempt to restore the nation’s solvency. Michael Schuman, Bloomberg.com, 29 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gallant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English galaunt, borrowed from Middle French galant, from present participle of galer "to squander in pleasures, have a good time, enjoy oneself," going back to Old French, going back to Gallo-Romance *walāre, derivative of Old Low Franconian *wala "well, with good appearance or effect," going back to Germanic *welō — more at well entry 3

Noun

Middle English galaunt, gallaunt, borrowed from Middle French, noun derivative of galant gallant entry 1

Verb

derivative of gallant entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1672, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gallant was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near gallant

Cite this Entry

“Gallant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gallant. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

gallant

1 of 2 noun
1
: a fashionable young man
2
a
: a man who likes the company of women and is attentive to them

gallant

2 of 2 adjective
gal·​lant ˈgal-ənt How to pronounce gallant (audio)
(usually in sense 2b);
gə-ˈlant How to pronounce gallant (audio) gə-ˈlänt How to pronounce gallant (audio)
 (usually in sense 3) 
1
: showy in dress or bearing
2
a
: splendid sense 2, stately
a gallant ship
c
: chivalrous sense 2a, noble
a gallant knight
3
: polite and attentive to women
gallantly adverb

Biographical Definition

Gallant

biographical name

Gal·​lant ga-ˈlant How to pronounce Gallant (audio)
Mavis 1922–2014 originally Mavis de Trafford Young Canadian-French writer

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