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 4)

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 4)

1 : a young man of fashion


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

Definition of gallant (Entry 3 of 4)

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


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

Definition of Gallant (Entry 4 of 4)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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?


In the late 14th century, Middle English adopted "galaunt" (now spelled "gallant") from Middle French galant, a participial form of the verb galer, meaning "to have a good time." This origin is more apparent in the earliest uses of the English "gallant," both as a noun meaning "a man of fashion" and as an adjective meaning "marked by show, color, smartness, or splendor especially in dress." French galer is related to "gale" ("pleasure, merrymaking") which has also entered the language, by way of Italian, as "gala" ("a festive celebration"). Middle English also had a noun "gale" which meant "singing, merriment, or mirth" (and is unrelated to the "gale" used to indicate a strong current of air) which may also have been related to Old French gale.

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 More than 200 tuba players of all ages took the stage, while a gallant audience listened despite the dumping rain. Jules Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "A holiday lift to play out a long year: Bring on the tubas (animation)," 15 Dec. 2020 Custer was known as a Civil War hero and gallant fighter, according to an online encyclopedia. oregonlive, "Portland’s Custer Park will get new name; it’s called ‘A Park’ for now," 3 Dec. 2020 For gallant conduct in jumping overboard from the U.S.S. Plymouth, at sea, and rescuing from drowning one of the crew of that vessel on 27 April 1876. Drew Broach | Staff Writer,, "On Veterans Day, meet all 26 of Louisiana's Medal of Honor recipients," 10 Nov. 2020 In a big city like Dallas, the vanishing of pretty, gallant Trumanell Branson probably would have faded into obscurity after 10 or 15 years. Joyce Sáenz Harris, Dallas News, "In twisty ‘We Are All the Same in the Dark,’ a D-FW cop is haunted by an unsolved case," 6 Aug. 2020 There's taxidermy foxes, a mural of gallant foxes drinking beers and a wall of wooden Chevrons. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "The coronavirus didn't stop a Clifton brewery from opening. Now it's a hit," 7 May 2020 In fact, three Scandanavian stars of the show — Gijs Blom, who plays the evil Prince Viridian; Jakob Oftebro, who plays the gallant Prince Iridian; and Yorick Van Wageningen, who plays the regal King Favian — all read the book as children. Jean Bentley,, "Letter For The King Is Based On A Book That Desperately Needed More Female Characters," 20 Mar. 2020 That what those boys who had us as their slaves that’s your gallant heroes on these monuments remind us of. Mike Cason |, al, "Senator says monuments bill amounts to kicking black citizens," 11 Mar. 2020 Vettes were cars to be manhandled, though the last-generation front-engine C7 represented a gallant effort. cleveland, "Mid-engine 2020 Corvette C8 Stingray shines on and off track," 7 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun My Government will continue to invest in our gallant Armed Forces. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Delivered the Customary Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament," 14 Oct. 2019 The 2018 court included promenade girls, gallants, demoiselles, jewel-bearers and the queen. Sue Strachan,, "New Orleans Spring Fiesta welcomes the season with promenade, presentation," 1 Apr. 2018 Housewives surrendered their gold jewelry in a gallant, but futile attempt to restore the nation’s solvency. Michael Schuman,, "What South Korea’s 1997 Meltdown Can Teach China in 2017," 29 June 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for gallant

Last Updated

27 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gallant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gallant


How to pronounce Gallant (audio) How to pronounce Gallant (audio) How to pronounce Gallant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gallant

: showing courage : very brave
: large and impressive
: having or showing politeness and respect for women


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

More from Merriam-Webster on gallant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gallant

Nglish: Translation of gallant for Spanish Speakers

Comments on gallant

What made you want to look up gallant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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