gal·​li·​vant | \ ˈga-lə-ˌvant \
variants: or less commonly
gallivanted also galavanted; gallivanting also galavanting; gallivants also galavants

Definition of gallivant

intransitive verb

1 informal : to travel, roam, or move about for pleasure been gallivanting all over town
2 dated, informal : to go about usually ostentatiously or indiscreetly with members of the opposite sex

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Back in the 14th century, a young man of fashion (or a ladies' man) was called a gallant. By the late 1600s, gallant was being used as a verb to describe the process a paramour used to win a lady's heart; to gallant became a synonym of "to court." Etymologists think that the spelling of the verb gallant was altered to create gallivant, which originally meant "to act as a gallant" or "to go about usually ostentatiously or indiscreetly with members of the opposite sex." Nowadays, however, gallivant is more likely to describe wandering than romancing.

Examples of gallivant in a Sentence

They've been gallivanting all over town. He's been gallivanting around the country when he ought to be looking for a job.

Recent Examples on the Web

Johnston fled to the United States, gallivanting from Detroit to Los Angeles to Salt Lake City to Denver. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Man who robbed bank 60 years ago returns to scene of crime for a meal, glass of champagne," 17 Aug. 2018 High-level quarterbacks don’t usually gallivant around the league like this. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The NFL’s Quarterback Musical Chairs," 10 Sep. 2018 England was not among the top 10 nations in ticket sales before the tournament, but the team's progress caused gallivanting supporters to flock to Moscow. Ronald Blum, The Christian Science Monitor, "Croatia will make its first-ever appearance in World Cup final," 12 July 2018 The video sees both Galantis and Uffie gallivanting around Tokyo after the friendly trio meets up in a crowded sidewalk. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Galantis Takes Uffie To New Places With 'Spaceship': Watch," 18 May 2018 Kane collected 81% of the 22,930 votes, with the gallivanting Kieran Trippier behind him in second place with just 8%., "Fans Vote England's Harry Kane as Man of the Moment After Treble in Spectacular Win Over Panama," 25 June 2018 That’s exactly what the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said after one of its deputies was forced to wrangle a gallivanting bull recently. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Texas Deputy “Grabs Bull By The Horns,” Escorts Gallivanting Longhorn Safely Home," 23 May 2018 The corgis gallivanted in front of onlookers and enacted a wedding of their own, á la the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Corgis Dressed Up As a Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for a Royal Wedding of Their Own," 8 May 2018 Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart were recently in Paris for a French Riverdale convention, and while gallivanting around town, were photographed holding hands and kissing in a restaurant and on the street, Elle reports. Emily Wang, Teen Vogue, "Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart Were Spotted Kissing in Paris," 4 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gallivant.' 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 gallivant

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for gallivant

perhaps extended form of gallant entry 3

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gallivant

Listen to Our Podcast about gallivant

Statistics for gallivant

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gallivant

The first known use of gallivant was in 1823

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gallivant



English Language Learners Definition of gallivant

: to go or travel to many different places for pleasure


gal·​li·​vant | \ ˈga-lə-ˌvant\
gallivanted; gallivanting

Kids Definition of gallivant

: to travel from place to place doing things for pleasure “Abandoning … his four little children to go gallivanting off on wild adventures …”— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gallivant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gallivant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gallivant

Spanish Central: Translation of gallivant

Nglish: Translation of gallivant for Spanish Speakers

Comments on gallivant

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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