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 1 of 4)

1 : a young man of fashion


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 2 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) , -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

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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

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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Webster’s defines gallant as splendid, stately, spirited, brave. Regina Robertson, Essence, "Remembering The Magic Of Toni Morrison," 7 Aug. 2019 Please join us in congratulating Deputy Kimbro for his gallant actions that prolonged human life. Joelle Goldstein,, "Police Officer Saves 12-Day-Old Baby's Life After Newborn Stopped Breathing During Traffic Stop," 12 July 2019 Ever gallant, Chip Rosen provided champagne for the luncheon to thank Les Dames for their support during his two year term as president of Timberlane Country Club. Helen Williams,, "Timberlane commission stays busy to protect future of country club," 14 June 2019 Often just as gallant were those already on French soil, who had endured years of a crushing occupation, but who also played their part in securing the Allied victory. Sonia Purnell, Twin Cities, "Sonia Purnell: What D-Day teaches us about the difficulty – and importance – of resistance," 6 June 2019 Over the decades, many gallant Chinese have spoken up for individual rights and government accountability, but Liu stood out for his systematic critique of China’s government, as well as his moderation and advocacy of nonviolent protest. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, "Ian Johnson," 9 May 2019 The gallant Galahad of legend sought the Holy Grail. Jill Tucker,, "Headed to Stanford, SF immigrant teen found American dream on steroids," 4 June 2019 Croatia secured first place in Group D on Tuesday after a hard-fought 2-1 win over gallant Iceland in Rostov, setting up a last-16 tie with Denmark. Peter Murphy,, "Iceland crash out of World Cup after Croatia loss," 26 June 2018 The local team made a gallant stand against the visitors. John Kelly, Washington Post, "We may be champions now, but ice hockey got off to a rough start in Washington," 11 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of gallant


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th 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, gallaunt, borrowed from Middle French, noun derivative of galant gallant entry 2


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


derivative of gallant entry 2

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on gallant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gallant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gallant

Spanish Central: Translation of 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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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