gal·​li·​vant ˈga-lə-ˌvant How to pronounce gallivant (audio)
variants or less commonly galavant
gallivanted also galavanted; gallivanting also galavanting; gallivants also galavants

intransitive verb

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

Did you know?

Back in the 14th century, gallant, a noun borrowed from the French word galant, referred to a fashionable young man. By the middle of the next century, it was being used more specifically to refer to such a man who was attentive to, and had a fondness for, the company of women. In the late 17th century, this “ladies’ man” sense gave rise to the verb gallant to describe the process a suitor used to win a lady’s heart, and “gallanting” became synonymous with “courting.” It’s this verb gallant that is the likely source of gallivant, which originally meant “to act as a gallant” or “to go about usually ostentatiously or indiscreetly with members of the opposite sex.” Today, however, gallivant is more likely to describe pleasurable 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 The look-alike pair have been gallivanting around New York City, as supermodels do, looking gorgeous on the red carpet, also as supermodels do. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 16 Nov. 2023 Turlington and her cohort—fellow-supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Carla Bruni—are pictured in a constant state of air-kissing and waving ciao while gallivanting backstage at Fashion Week or on the set of a photo shoot. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 5 Oct. 2023 Certain art experiences stick out in the memories of those who grew up in Dallas in the ‘80s and ‘90s, in particular, gallivanting over the bridges of Patricia Johanson’s Fair Park Lagoon after a field trip to the Science Place. Allison Klion, Dallas News, 17 Sep. 2023 The couple have been gallivanting through Europe since Timberlake ended the European leg of his Man of the Woods tour on Aug. 29. Madison Roberts, Peoplemag, 2 Aug. 2023 Dawn began to relay the day's adventure, along with many of the other adventures that regularly gallivanted in Luke's imagination. Lisa Baker Gibbs, Arkansas Online, 29 June 2023 Such as, say, a timestamped itinerary for a day of gallivanting around Boston. Globe Staff,, 26 May 2023 In Instagram posts, the Simply Giada star gallivanted across the country, visiting cities like Abruzzo and Rome. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 15 May 2023 But don’t worry, ex-Sunset seller Christine Quinn still lives rent free in Mary Fitzgerald’s head, the HBIC while the remaining Oppenheimer goes gallivanting across Europe. Vulture, 4 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gallivant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


perhaps extended form of gallant entry 3

First Known Use

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of gallivant was in 1823


Dictionary Entries Near gallivant

Cite this Entry

“Gallivant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also galavant
: to travel or roam about for pleasure

More from Merriam-Webster on gallivant

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