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 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 How did this couple go from gallivanting at furniture stores in fancy sweatpants to breaking up in such a short span? Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Here Is the Full, Confusing Saga of Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson's Breakup," 15 Oct. 2018 Spooner gallivanted about Greece in bright yellow Calvin Klein briefs, Prada bucket hats, and his signature sheer shirts, of course. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Forget Lindsay Lohan: Casey Spooner Is Having the Chicest Greek Vacation Ever," 14 Sep. 2018 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

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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Learn More about gallivant

Time Traveler for gallivant

Time Traveler

The first known use of gallivant was in 1823

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Statistics for gallivant

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gallivant.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for gallivant


How to pronounce gallivant (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on gallivant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gallivant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gallivant

Spanish Central: Translation of gallivant

Nglish: Translation of gallivant for Spanish Speakers

Comments on gallivant

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