gal·​lant | \ ˈga-lənt (usually in sense 2) How to pronounce gallant (audio) ; gə-ˈlant How to pronounce gallant (audio) , gə-ˈlänt (usually in sense 3) How to pronounce gallant (audio) \

Definition of gallant

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : showy in dress or bearing : smart
2a : 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


gal·​lant | \ gə-ˈlant How to pronounce gallant (audio) , gə-ˈlänt How to pronounce gallant (audio) , ˈga-lənt How to pronounce gallant (audio) \

Definition of gallant (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a young man of fashion
b : suitor
c : paramour


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

Definition of gallant (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to pay court to ladies

Other Words from gallant


gallantly adverb

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

Did you know?

Gallant exists in modern English primarily as an adjective, but it entered the language first as a noun. In the 14th century, when tales of Camelot populated the mythology of English speakers, a gallant was a young man of fashion—imagine perhaps a young and smartly dressed Arthur or Lancelot. The word had been borrowed in the forms galaunt and gallaunt from Middle French, the ultimate source being Middle French galer, a verb meaning "to squander in pleasures, have a good time, enjoy oneself." Galer also bestowed upon English the adjective gallant, which joined the language in the 15th century. A verb gallant meaning "to pay court to a lady" entered the language in the late 17th century as a derivative of the English adjective, but it is rarely encountered today.

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Ruby Nell Sales is a stirring tribute to a long, gallant personal history that continues into the present. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2022 The third week of Russia’s war on Ukraine shows, like its predecessors, gallant resistance, pitiable suffering, and slow Russian progress. Nr Editors, National Review, 17 Mar. 2022 The tenor Charles Castronovo sang a gallant Rodolfo, the baritone Lucas Meachem a forceful Marcello. New York Times, 10 Jan. 2022 Magic and mayhem, ferocious beasts and gallant knights. Erik Kain, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 The gallant knight charging to rescue the maiden from the scaly beast. David M. Perry And Matthew Gabriele, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Oct. 2021 Vigor established its running game and fought off a gallant, last-minute rally by Class 5A Faith Academy to remain unbeaten at 7-0 with a 21-19 win at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Thursday night. Arthur L. Mack, al, 7 Oct. 2021 The Red Sox credit their 2018 World Series title to him thanks to a gallant six-inning extra-innings relief performance that saved their bullpen sufficiently to submit the Los Angeles Dodgers in just five games. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 6 Oct. 2021 The American Revolution was essentially a French triumph, which the American imagination turned into an American victory, albeit with some gallant support from the French. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 16 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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,, 1 Apr. 2018 Housewives surrendered their gold jewelry in a gallant, but futile attempt to restore the nation’s solvency. Michael Schuman,, 29 June 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of gallant


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1672, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for gallant


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


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


derivative of gallant entry 1

Learn More About gallant

Time Traveler for gallant

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About gallant

Dictionary Entries Near gallant




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for gallant

Last Updated

8 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gallant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for gallant


gal·​lant | \ ˈga-lənt How to pronounce gallant (audio) \

Kids Definition of gallant

1 : showing courage : very brave a gallant soldier
2 : chivalrous sense 2 a gallant knight
3 \ gə-​ˈlant , -​ˈlänt \ : very polite to women He offered her his seat in a gallant gesture.
4 : splendid or stately a gallant ship
5 : showy in dress or in the way of acting He was a gallant figure in his uniform.

Other Words from gallant

gallantly adverb

Gallant biographical name

Gal·​lant | \ ga-ˈlant How to pronounce Gallant (audio) \

Definition of Gallant

Mavis 1922–2014 originally Mavis de Trafford Young Canadian-French writer

More from Merriam-Webster on gallant

Nglish: Translation of gallant for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!