What It Means
1 : showy in dress or bearing : smart
c : nobly chivalrous and often self-sacrificing
3 : courteously and elaborately attentive
gallant in Context
"But travel-stained though he was, he was well and even richly attired, and without being overdressed looked a gallant gentleman." — Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, 1841
"A gallant collection of four seniors, one junior and one freshman combined to score 268 of the Bruins' 278.5 points in their surge to second place in the team standings." — Mike Tupa, The Bartlesville (Oklahoma) Examiner-Enterprise, 27 Feb. 2021
Did You Know?
Gallant exists in modern English primarily as an adjective, but it entered the language first as a noun. In the 14th century, when tales of Camelot populated the mythology of English speakers, a gallant was a young man of fashion—imagine perhaps a young and smartly dressed Arthur or Lancelot. The word had been borrowed in the forms galaunt and gallaunt from Middle French, the ultimate source being Middle French galer, a verb meaning "to squander in pleasures, have a good time, enjoy oneself." Galer also bestowed upon English the adjective gallant, which joined the language in the 15th century. A verb gallant meaning "to pay court to a lady" entered the language in the late 17th century as a derivative of the English adjective, but it is rarely encountered today.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
What descendant of French galer begins with "r" and can mean "to give pleasure or amusement to"?VIEW THE ANSWER
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