gay

adjective
\ ˈgā How to pronounce gay (audio) \

Definition of gay

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : happily excited : merry in a gay mood
b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits a bird's gay spring song
2a : bright, lively gay sunny meadows
b : brilliant in color
3 : given to social pleasures also : licentious
4a : of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex : homosexual gay men
b : of, relating to, or intended for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc. the gay rights movement a gay bar

gay

noun

Definition of gay (Entry 2 of 3)

: homosexual especially : a homosexual male

Gay

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

Definition of Gay (Entry 3 of 3)

John 1685–1732 English poet and dramatist

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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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The policy, approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was rooted in the ugly idea that gay men and lesbians could be easily blackmailed and turned into communist spies — paranoia in full effect. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "10 new TV shows to watch this summer, not one of them about a throne," 13 June 2019 By 2016, a recent peak, the number had risen to 400, following a rise in demand driven partly by gay men. The Economist, "New proposals to regulate Britain’s surrogacy boom," 7 June 2019 Worthy's office said Davis and Blancher were gay men. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit man charged in triple homicide targeting LGBTQ community," 6 June 2019 Her longtime assistant Alan Croft (Stephen Kaiser), a gay man still deeply in mourning a year after the death of his partner, manages the traffic flow in and out of the suite. Christine Dolen, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: ‘Veronica’s Position’ sparkles like fine cubic zirconia at Island City Stage," 3 June 2019 However, gay men can still be whipped and imprisoned. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Anti-LGBTQ Sentiment Is Rising Around the World," 3 June 2019 Romano points out that this movie about a gay man, Freddie Mercury, puts nearly all the focus on his relationships with straight characters, ignoring his relationships with other LGBTQ people. Dan Kopf, Quartzy, "Before We Knew Better: Transphobia was at the very center of Ace Ventura," 31 May 2019 Hunter, unbeknown to the public, which saw him paired on and off screen with female movie stars, was actually a gay man who was unable to be open about his sexuality and was constantly under the threat of having his career destroyed because of it. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Awards Chatter' Podcast — Remembering Tab Hunter," 11 July 2018 The Closet’’ is that an employee could hold onto his job by pretending to be gay, betting that his company’s fear of being accused of homophobia and discrimination would outweigh its desire to fire him. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "‘The Closet’ plays sexual identity for old-fashioned laughs," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As a presidential candidate, Trump last year vowed to fight for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. Phil Stewart And Idrees Ali, Alaska Dispatch News, "No changes yet to military’s transgender policy, says top U.S. general," 27 July 2017 Gays and lesbians could now openly serve their country. Susan Davis, Cosmopolitan, "Why I'm Proud to Display the Pride Flag," 24 July 2017 It was set to hold one here in 2015, but moved it to Columbus, Ohio, as a protest against the Indiana legislature's passage of its religious-freedom law, which the church and others believed allowed discrimination against gays and lesbians. Dwight Adams, Indianapolis Star, "An Indy-based church of diversity elects first black woman to lead a major denomination," 13 July 2017 But at least one leading Mormon scholar said that the Boy Scouts and the church have been diverging on values in recent years and that the policy on gays was probably a contributing factor in the split. Brady Mccombs, The Denver Post, "Mormon church severs some of its ties to the Boy Scouts," 11 May 2017 “Some people in the alt-right are kind of like, ‘Women go back to the kitchen, gays go back in the closet’—like everything was great in the ’50s. I don’t believe that at all.” Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, "His Kampf," 14 May 2017

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.

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First Known Use of gay

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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

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Learn More about gay

Dictionary Entries near gay

gawney

gawp

gawsie

gay

Gay

Gaya

gayal

Statistics for gay

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gay

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on gay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gay

Spanish Central: Translation of gay

Nglish: Translation of gay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gay for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about gay

Comments on gay

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