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
b : suitor
c : paramour


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


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


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

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 The first division of the Albany, which goes as the seventh, features My Friend Emma, who ran a gallant second in the Grade 3 All American Stakes two weeks ago. John Cherwa,, "Racing! Count Fleet comes in at No. 4 in Triple Crown ratings," 7 June 2018 The crowd in liberal San Jose went wild as Newsom struck a gallant pose, and like-minded liberals cited this quote on social media, which is precisely what's wrong with this picture. Marcos Bretón, sacbee, "Translating Newsom doubletalk: We don't celebrate diversity, we avoid talking about it | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 2018 This sensitively told version— written with her husband, who also lost a leg in the bombing — highlights her relationship with the gallant Rescue. 32 pp. Maria Russo, New York Times, "Enchanting New Picture Books," 11 May 2018 Hughes had found a use for the gallant Locke: an entrée to the bold movement in black American writing then rumbling to life. Tobi Haslett, The New Yorker, "The Man Who Led the Harlem Renaissance—and His Hidden Hungers," 11 May 2018 The original plaque, still attached to the monument, recognizes him as a noble patriot, gallant soldier, useful citizen and accomplished gentleman, without mentioning city parks. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Confederate statue in Cherokee Triangle vandalized again, this time with the word 'racist'," 12 Apr. 2018 Isabelle's next beau, an unhappily married stage actor (Nicholas Duvauchelle), seems gallant by comparison, though his endless hesitation reveals him to be a similarly irritating study in self-absorption. Justin Chang,, "Juliette Binoche lights up Claire Denis' exquisite 'Let the Sunshine In'," 3 May 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



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gallant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gallant

Spanish Central: Translation of gallant

Nglish: Translation of gallant for Spanish Speakers

Comments on gallant

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one that collects or salvages junk

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