gay

adjective
\ ˈgā How to pronounce gay (audio) \

Definition of gay

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to people of one's same sex gay men a gay woman in her 40s often used to refer to men only gay and lesbian members of the community
b : of, relating to, or intended for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc. the gay rights movement a gay bar
2a : happily excited : merry in a gay mood
b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits a bird's gay spring song
3a : bright, lively gay sunny meadows
b : brilliant in color
4 : given to social pleasures also : licentious

gay

noun
plural gays

Definition of gay (Entry 2 of 3)

sometimes disparaging + offensive, see usage paragraph below : a gay person especially : a gay man

Gay

biographical name
\ ˈgā How to pronounce Gay (audio) \

Definition of Gay (Entry 3 of 3)

John 1685–1732 English poet and dramatist

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gay

Adjective

gay adverb
gayness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for gay

Adjective

lively, animated, vivacious, sprightly, gay mean keenly alive and spirited. lively suggests briskness, alertness, or energy. a lively debate on the issues animated applies to what is spirited and active. an animated discussion of current events vivacious suggests an activeness of gesture and wit, often playful or alluring. a vivacious party host sprightly suggests lightness and spirited vigor of manner or wit. a tuneful, sprightly musical gay stresses complete freedom from care and overflowing spirits. the gay spirit of Paris in the 1920s

Usage of Gay

Noun

Use of the noun gay to refer to a particular person ("the author is a gay") or particular people ("they are both gays") is commonly considered offensive. Instead, phrases that employ the adjective are preferred, as in "a gay author," "they are both gay," etc. The noun does, however, function as a neutral or positive self-descriptor, and in its plural form is common especially in phrases with other plural nouns that relate to sexual orientation and gender identity, as in "the rights of gays and lesbians." It is also sometimes used neutrally to refer in a general way to gay people, as in "gays serving in the military."

Examples of gay in a Sentence

Adjective The band was playing a gay tune. the gayest of the spring flowers Noun a bar that is frequented by gays
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The case reached the court just as the justices considered whether a Catholic Pennsylvania foster care agency violated Philadelphia's nondiscrimination laws by adhering to church teaching in its practice by not recognizing gay marriages. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Supreme Court declines religious liberty dispute between California and Texas," 26 Apr. 2021 At the same time, DOJ lawyers retreated from applications of existing civil rights laws that might cover gay and transgender Americans. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Mystery of Merrick Garland," 26 Apr. 2021 In middle and high school, gay characters were never featured. John Kell, Fortune, "Lockdown gave me the time and space to reflect on my identity with these queer novels," 25 Apr. 2021 There are probably baby-gay viewers who weren’t alive during season one, and 2. Justin Curto, Vulture, "This Was the Best Lip-Sync Season of RuPaul’s Drag Race," 23 Apr. 2021 But gay bars are an essential part of our City and its history. Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA TODAY, "Andrew Yang to LGBTQ+ voters: 'You're so human'," 23 Apr. 2021 The Court held that Title VII of the federal civil rights law protects lesbian, gay and transgender workers. Susan Adams, Forbes, "College Of The Ozarks Sues Biden Administration Over Trans Students’ Housing Rights," 16 Apr. 2021 The fight for child allowance payments is personal to Torres, 33, who made history in November, along with Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., by becoming the first openly gay, Black men elected to Congress. Marisa Schultz, Fox News, "Rep. Ritchie Torres’ Big Idea: Create permanent monthly child allowance payments to parents," 16 Apr. 2021 Angel Olsen took to Instagram on Friday to announce that she’s gay, posting a photo of her partner on the site. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, "Angel Olsen Comes Out: ‘I’m Gay’," 16 Apr. 2021

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

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Noun

1953, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gay

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French gai, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German gāhi quick, sudden

Noun

derivative of gay entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gay

Time Traveler for gay

Time Traveler

The first known use of gay was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for gay

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gay. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gay

gay

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of gay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex
: of, relating to, or used by homosexuals
old-fashioned : happy and excited : cheerful and lively

gay

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gay (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person and especially a man who is homosexual

gay

adjective
\ ˈgā How to pronounce gay (audio) \
gayer; gayest

Kids Definition of gay

1 : merry sense 1, happy Setsu grew … into a gay, willful, pretty girl.— Pearl S. Buck, The Big Wave
2 : cheerful and lively They played a gay tune.
3 : brightly colored a gay dress

gay

adjective
\ ˈgā How to pronounce gay (audio) \

Medical Definition of gay

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to individuals of one's same sex gay men a gay woman in her 40s often used to refer to men only gay and lesbian members of the community
2 : of, relating to, or intended for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc. gay issues

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on gay

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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