1

gay

play
adjective \ ˈgā \

Definition of gay

1 a :happily excited :merry
  • in a gay mood
b :keenly alive and exuberant :having or inducing high spirits
  • a bird's gay spring song
2 a :bright, lively
  • gay sunny meadows
b :brilliant in color
3 :given to social pleasures; also :licentious
4 a :homosexual
  • gay men
b :of, relating to, or used by homosexuals
  • the gay rights movement
  • a gay bar

gay

adverb

gayness

noun

Examples of gay in a Sentence

  1. The band was playing a gay tune.

  2. the gayest of the spring flowers

Recent Examples of gay from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of gay

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

Synonym Discussion of gay

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

2

gay

noun

Definition of gay

:homosexual; especially :a homosexual male

Examples of gay in a Sentence

  1. a bar that is frequented by gays

Recent Examples of gay from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of gay

derivative of 1gay


Gay

play
biographical name \ ˈgā \

Definition of Gay

John 1685–1732 English poet and dramatist

GAY Defined for English Language Learners

gay

play
adjective

Definition of gay for English Language Learners

  • : sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex

  • : of, relating to, or used by homosexuals

  • : happy and excited : cheerful and lively


gay

noun

Definition of gay for English Language Learners

  • : a person and especially a man who is homosexual


GAY Defined for Kids

gay

play
adjective \ ˈgā \

Definition of gay for Students

gayer; gayest
1 :merry 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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

all at once

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized-drawing-of-woman-pole-vaulting-across-gap-to-get-trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!