gal·​ly ˈga-lē How to pronounce gally (audio)
gallied; gallying

transitive verb

chiefly dialectal

Word History


of obscure origin

Note: A supposed connection of this word with a verb gallow, occurring once in King Lear (III.ii) and taken to mean "frighten," is very tenuous given the lack of any other evidence for such a word. Still more tenuous is a connection with the Old English word āgǣlwan "to frighten" (attested only as a past participle agælwed).

First Known Use

1605, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gally was in 1605

Dictionary Entries Near gally

Cite this Entry

“Gally.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

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