Gay - Definition, Meaning, Synonyms & Antonyms

Gay - Definition, Meaning, Synonyms & Antonyms

Gay originally meant happy or lively, but in modern usage, meaning refers to someone who is homosexual or in the LGBTQ+ community.

History of the Word Gay

 Etymology and Early Usage

The word gay has a rich history, evolving from the Old French "gai" meaning lively or happy. In Middle English, it was used in the same joyful sense, describing a state of merriment or high spirits.

Shift in Meaning

Over time, the term underwent a shift in meaning. In the 20th century, it began to be associated with homosexuality. It became a euphemism for describing same-sex attraction or individuals who identified as gay. This change in meaning reflects the evolving societal understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ+ identities.

Modern Usage

Today, gay primarily refers to someone who identifies as homosexual. It also serves as an umbrella term to encompass the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. While the original sense of lively or "happy" is still used occasionally, it is less common and largely overshadowed by the LGBTQ+ association.

English (Gay As Adjective)


Gay comes from the Old French "gai," originally meaning lively or happy, later associated with homosexuality.


The word gay is typically pronounced as /ɡeɪ/.

Forms of Gay

Adjective charming
Comparative Degree  more charming
Superlative Degree  most charming
Adverb charmingly
Noun charm

Derived Terms

  • Gaily
  • Gayness
  • Ungay
  • Out-and-proud
  • Gaydar

Translations of Gay

  • Hindi: गे (Ge)
  • Gay meaning in Urdu: ہم جنس پرست (Ham jins parast)
  • Spanish: Homosexual - Alegre
  • French: Homosexuel - Joyeux
  • German: Homosexuell - Fröhlich
  • Italian: Omosessuale - Allegro
  • Portuguese: Homossexual - Alegre
  • Chinese (Mandarin): 同性恋 (Tóngxìngliàn) - 快乐 (Kuàilè)
  • Japanese: 同性愛者 (Dōseiaisha) - 陽気 (Yōki)
  • Russian: Гомосексуальный (Gomoseksual'nyy) - Веселый (Veselyy)
  • Arabic: مثلي الجنس (Mithli al-jins) - سعيد (Sa'id)



  • Homosexual
  • Lesbian (for gay women)
  • Queer
  • Same-sex oriented

Happy or Lively:

  • Joyful
  • Cheerful
  • Merry
  • Jovial
  • Gleeful
  • Lively
  • Carefree


  • Unhappy
  • Sad
  • Depressed
  • Gloomy
  • Miserable

Example Sentence

  • They had a gay wedding celebration.
  • LGBTQ+ pride parades are lively and colorful.
  • She came out as openly gay.

FAQs (People May Also Ask)

What was the original meaning of the word gay?

Originally, gay meant lively or happy but it now primarily refers to homosexuality and the LGBTQ+ community.

When did the term gay start being associated with homosexuality?

The shift in meaning an in the 20th century when gay started to be used as a euphemism for homosexuality.

Is gay only used to describe individuals, or can it refer to the LGBTQ+ community as a whole?

Gay is both an adjective for individuals and an umbrella term for the entire LGBTQ+ community.

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