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gay Line breaks: gay

Definition of gay in English:

adjective (gayer, gayest)

1(Of a person, especially a man) homosexual.
Example sentences
  • Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective.
  • She admits that she only told her daughters she was gay three years ago.
  • It's not exactly a secret that she is gay.
homosexual, lesbian, sapphic, lesbigay, GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered)
rare homophile, Uranian
informal pink, lavender, camp, lezzy, les, lesbo, butch, dykey
informal , derogatory queer, limp-wristed, that way, swinging the other way, homo
British informal , derogatory bent, poofy
North American informal , derogatory fruity
gay, lesbian, sapphic, lesbigay, GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered)
rare homophile, Uranian
informal pink, lavender, camp, lezzy, les, lesbo, butch, dykey
informal , derogatory queer, limp-wristed, that way, swinging the other way, homo
British informal , derogatory bent, poofy
North American informal , derogatory fruity
1.1Relating to or used by homosexuals: a gay bar
More example sentences
  • When I lived in Boston there were few gay bars, as everyone there just mixed in straight clubs.
  • He goes on to say that the support of the gay community means the world to him.
  • Their partnership was one of the first openly gay relationships portrayed in popular media.
2 dated Light-hearted and carefree: Nan had a gay disposition and a very pretty face
More example sentences
  • And she laughed, laughed at how happy, gay, and carefree her tone sounded.
  • Some people cannot take criticism, and expect everything to always be happy and gay.
  • Yes I know this must come as a shock to you since I am normally such a gay and carefree chap, brimming with chuckles and mirth.
cheerful, cheery, merry, jolly, light-hearted, mirthful, jovial, glad, happy, bright, in good spirits, in high spirits, joyful, elated, exuberant, animated, lively, sprightly, vivacious, buoyant, bouncy, bubbly, perky, effervescent, playful, frolicsome
informal chirpy, on top of the world, as happy as a sandboy
North American informal as happy as a clam
3 dated Brightly coloured; showy: a gay profusion of purple and pink sweet peas
More example sentences
  • The picture was all the more poignant for me because of the stark contrast offered by the youngsters' skeletal bodies and the gay colours and rich decoration of their mothers' dresses.
  • It was quite a sight, after the War and four years of dreary austerity in England, to see girls whirling round the dance floor in pretty full-length evening dresses in gay colours.
  • So, uh, is the uniform jet black and sombre or colourful and gay?
bright, brightly coloured, vivid, brilliant, rich, vibrant;
richly coloured, many-coloured, multicoloured;
flamboyant, gaudy
4 informal offensive Foolish, stupid, or unimpressive: he thinks the obsession with celebrity is totally gay


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A homosexual, especially a man.
Example sentences
  • The commission suspects hate crimes against gays, lesbians, and transgender people are under-reported.
  • My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life.
  • Discrimination against lesbians and gays in other areas of life is also commonplace.
homosexual, lesbian, gay person, lesbigay
informal queen, friend of Dorothy, dyke, les, lesbo, lezzie, butch, femme
informal , derogatory queer, homo, pansy, nancy, bumboy, nelly
British informal , derogatory poof, poofter, ponce, jessie, woofter, shirtlifter, bender
North American informal , derogatory cupcake, swish, twinkie
Australian informal wonk
South African informal , derogatory moffie
West Indian informal , derogatory batty boy, batty man


Gay meaning ‘homosexual’ became established in the 1960s as the term preferred by homosexual men to describe themselves. It is now the standard accepted term throughout the English-speaking world. As a result, the centuries-old other senses of gay meaning either ‘carefree’ or ‘bright and showy’ have more or less dropped out of natural use. The word gay cannot be readily used today in these older senses without arousing a sense of double entendre, despite concerted attempts by some to keep them alive.Gay in its modern sense typically refers to men (lesbian being the standard term for homosexual women) but in some contexts it can be used of both men and women.


Middle English (in sense 2 of the adjective): from Old French gai, of unknown origin.

  • In its original sense of ‘light-hearted and carefree, exuberantly cheerful’, gay goes back to the 14th century and derives from Old French gai. By the 17th century the meaning had extended to ‘addicted to social pleasures’, often with an implication of loose morality, as in, for example, the expression gay dog (a man fond of revelry), or these lines from William Cowper's poem ‘To a Young Lady’ ( 1782): ‘Silent and chaste she steal along / Far from the world's gay busy throng’. In slang use the word could describe a prostitute. The use of gay to mean ‘homosexual’, now the main meaning, is unambiguously found in examples from the 1930s, though there is evidence that it may have been used in this sense earlier.

Words that rhyme with gay

affray, agley, aka, allay, Angers, A-OK, appellation contrôlée, array, assay, astray, au fait, auto-da-fé, away, aweigh, aye, bay, belay, betray, bey, Bombay, Bordet, boulevardier, bouquet, brae, bray, café au lait, Carné, cassoulet, Cathay, chassé, chevet, chez, chiné, clay, convey, Cray, crème brûlée, crudités, cuvée, cy-pres, day, decay, deejay, dégagé, distinguée, downplay, dray, Dufay, Dushanbe, eh, embay, engagé, essay, everyday, faraway, fay, fey, flay, fray, Frey, fromage frais, gainsay, Gaye, Genet, giclee, gilet, glissé, gray, grey, halfway, hay, heigh, hey, hooray, Hubei, Hué, hurray, inveigh, jay, jeunesse dorée, José, Kay, Kaye, Klee, Kray, Lae, lay, lei, Littré, Lough Neagh, lwei, Mae, maguey, Malay, Mallarmé, Mandalay, Marseilles, may, midday, midway, mislay, misplay, Monterrey, Na-Dene, nay, né, née, neigh, Ney, noway, obey, O'Dea, okay, olé, outlay, outplay, outstay, outweigh, oyez, part-way, pay, Pei, per se, pince-nez, play, portray, pray, prey, purvey, qua, Quai d'Orsay, Rae, rangé, ray, re, reflet, relevé, roman-à-clef, Santa Fé, say, sei, Shar Pei, shay, slay, sleigh, sley, spae, spay, Spey, splay, spray, stay, straightaway, straightway, strathspey, stray, Sui, survey, sway, Taipei, Tay, they, today, tokay, Torbay, Tournai, trait, tray, trey, two-way, ukiyo-e, underlay, way, waylay, Wei, weigh, wey, Whangarei, whey, yea

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