Synonyms & Antonyms of gay

2 having or showing freedom from worries or trouble
  • a gay, thoughtless girl who didn't care whether her work was done or not

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3 indicative of or marked by high spirits or good humor
  • had a gay old time at the party

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5 serving to lift one's spirits
  • the skylark's gay song lifted me out of my gloom

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6 joyously unrestrained
  • it was the era of the flappers, and young women were gay, bold, and defiant of convention

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About gay

How does the adjective gay contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of gay are animated, lively, sprightly, and vivacious. While all these words mean "keenly alive and spirited," gay stresses complete freedom from care and overflowing spirits.

the gay spirit of Paris in the 1920s

When is it sensible to use animated instead of gay?

The words animated and gay can be used in similar contexts, but animated applies to what is spirited and active.

an animated discussion of current events

When might lively be a better fit than gay?

In some situations, the words lively and gay are roughly equivalent. However, lively suggests briskness, alertness, or energy.

a lively debate on the issues

When would sprightly be a good substitute for gay?

While the synonyms sprightly and gay are close in meaning, sprightly suggests lightness and spirited vigor of manner or wit.

a tuneful, sprightly musical

When is vivacious a more appropriate choice than gay?

The synonyms vivacious and gay are sometimes interchangeable, but vivacious suggests an activeness of gesture and wit, often playful or alluring.

a vivacious party host

Learn More About gay

Time Traveler for gay

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Gay.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on gay

Nglish: Translation of gay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gay for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gay


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