gal·​li·​vant | \ ˈga-lə-ˌvant How to pronounce gallivant (audio) \
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

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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 Since this was filmed before our current situation, the chefs are shown doing things that now seem surreal, like gallivanting around grocery stores, the shelves and meat counters fully stocked, and wandering through the Getty Museum. Catherine Garcia, TheWeek, "Time for some inconsequential TV drama," 12 Apr. 2020 When the Jets sing, van Hove projects recorded footage of the cast gallivanting around Brooklyn, chewing on gold chains and mugging for the camera in pastiches of rap-music videos, which dwarfs the actors with their own gigantic images. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "A Grim Take on “West Side Story”," 21 Feb. 2020 Vallotton made images not just of the consumerism of the age — the shopping, gallivanting and dancing in the Latin Quarter — but also street protests, clashes with police, a carriage accident and murder. Washington Post, "The Félix Vallotton exhibition at the Met is not to be missed," 26 Dec. 2019 Below, see how Atkin—and her glamorous group—gallivanted through Italy. Vogue, "Jen Atkin’s Glamorous Trip Through Italy With Her Husband, Girlfriends, and Dog Roo," 18 Oct. 2019 Bail was set low and Mr. Murphy and Mr. Kuhn went back to gallivanting in Miami. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, "How a Band of Surfer Dudes Pulled Off the Biggest Jewel Heist in N.Y. History," 17 Oct. 2019 Not every moment was fun, but the overall experience was joyful through and through—even more joyful than gallivanting around Greece on an ATV. Sarah Firshein, Condé Nast Traveler, "What I Learned While Traveling Alone With a Baby," 9 Aug. 2019 At the time, Wrightsman was dating socialite Martha Kemp, but when he was hospitalized for lip cancer, Kemp was off gallivanting while Jayne maintained a bedside vigil throughout his illness. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Remembers Jayne Wrightsman, Esteemed Arts Connoisseur and Legendary Hostess," 24 Apr. 2019 Additionally, that two naive teens would just go gallivanting around with little to no regard to their plans or safety. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "#ReadWithMC Reviews Fiona Barton's 'The Suspect'," 4 Mar. 2019

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.

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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

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The first known use of gallivant was in 1823

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Cite this Entry

“Gallivant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for gallivant



English Language Learners Definition of gallivant

somewhat informal + often disapproving : 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

More from Merriam-Webster on gallivant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gallivant

Nglish: Translation of gallivant for Spanish Speakers

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