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Anatoly Liberman, following Frank Chance and Harri Meier, believes Old Frenchgai was instead a native development from Latinvagus(“wandering, inconstant, flighty”), with * > as in Frenchgaine.
The sense of homosexual (first recorded no later than 1937 by Cary Grant in the film Bringing Up Baby, and possibly earlier in 1922 in the poem "Miss Furr and Miss Skeene" by Gertrude Stein) was shortened from earlier gay cat ("homosexual boy") in underworld and prison slang, itself first attested about 1935, but used earlier for a young tramp or hobo attached to an older one.
Pejorative usage is probably due to hostility towards homosexuality.
The sense of ‘upright’, used in reference to a dog’s tail, probably derives from the ‘happy’ sense of the word.
1947, Rorschach Research Exchange and Journal of Projective Techniques, page 240:
He was not happy at the farm and went to a Western city where he associated with a homosexual crowd, being "gay," and wearing female clothes and makeup.
2003, Michael McAvennie, The World Wrestling Entertainment Yearbook:
She couldn't even gain access from a family friend whose name was on the list, nor could she use her feminine charms to turn on the staff member, who revealed he was gay and was more impressed seeing Billy and Chuck enter the building.
Of the dozen or so surviving articles, squibs, and letters to the editor, the most remarkable appeared in the Whip and Satirist’s February 12, 1842, issue, and disclosed the existence of a cabal of gay men in New York's otherwise wholesome nightscape of brothels and riots. Moreover it identified the spider who minced so delicately along the wide-flung strands of the sodomitical web. "There is not one so degraded as this Captain Collins, the King of the Sodomites." He was a foreigner, an Englishman, in the long tradition of blaming homosexuality on the influence of aliens. Among the syndicate of perverts, the writer announced, "we find no Americans as yet—they are all Englishmen or French" (the English called homosexuality the French vice and the French the English vice; for the Whip it was the French and English vice).
2007, Kevin P. Murphy, Jason Ruiz, David Serlin, Queer Futures, Radical History Review (Duke University Press), page 58:
The two failed attempts to receive the necessary access to medicalized transition procedures by the renowned FTM activist Lou Sullivan—a gay man who refused to comply with the imperative that transsexual men must desire women—
2009, Betty Jean Lifton, Lost & Found: the Adoption Experience, page 67:
Her adoptive mother fainted when Gail told her she was gay.
(of an animal, by extension) Tending to partner or mate with other individuals of the same sex.
2010, Noėl Sturgeon, Environmentalism in Popular Culture: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and the Politics of the Natural, page 128:
In fact, as several letter writers to the New York Times pointed out in their response to the article, the disjuncture between these two popularized penguins shows how radically separated from each other are communities of gay people and communities of right-wing religious conservatives: if the Christian fundamentalists had looked up "gay penguins" or even "penguins" on the Internet, they would have encountered several gay penguin sites, including the story of Roy and Silo, the Central Park Zoo gay penguin couple about whom a children's book was written; the saga of the gay penguin community at a German zoo; and the campaign of Gay Penguin for President (whose slogan was "George W. Bush talks the talk, but Gay Penguin walks the walk.")
(of a romantic or sexual act or relationship) Between two or more persons perceived to be of the same sex or gender as each other.
Although the number of gay weddings has increased significantly, many gay and lesbian couples — like many straight couples — are not interested in getting married.
Gays meet each other in special-interest social groups—gay softball leagues, gay bike clubs, gay gymnasia, gay activist political organizations, the Gay Academic Union (an organization for gay teachers, scholars and students), gay university student clubs and so on.
2003, Lawrence Block, Small Town, page 269:
He might well have suspected Cheek was a gay bar without seeing any of its patrons, simply because it was in a neighborhood where most of the bars were gay, and because you couldn't see in the windows.
2004, Martin Hughes, Sarah Johnstone, Tom Masters, London, page 208:
Turn left into chilled-out Old Compton St and try to guess which bars are gay. Even the straight bars in Soho are quite gay, so it's often a bit hard to tell.
2010, Jay Mohr, No Wonder My Parents Drank: Tales from a Stand-Up Dad, page 252:
Again I was to masturbate into a cup and again the majority of the porn was gay.
(slang, with for) Homosexually in love with someone.
2014 December 6, Ej Dickson, “The 7 worst things about NBC's "Peter Pan Live!"”, in Salon.com:
[…] the pirates, who are obviously totally gay for each other […]
2014, Christopher Schaberg, Robert Bennett, Deconstructing Brad Pitt, Bloomsbury Publishing USA, →ISBN, page 211:
Being gay for Brad, even a teensy bit, is at the very least being able to imagine the potential for queerness. In a sense, like the recent popular and critical furor over men who are gay-for-pay, being gay for Brad is what Jeffrey Escoffier defines as "situational homosexuality," or other forms of man-on-man behavior […] In other words, rather than worry over whether or not men who are queer for Brad can easily be labeled as straight or gay, […]
2017 May 2, German Lopez, “Stephen Colbert tried to insult Donald Trump. He made a homophobic comment instead.”, in Vox:
[…] it’s now pretty popular among progressives to paint the US and Russian presidents as being gay for each other.
(slang,humorous, with for) Infatuated with something, aligning with homosexual stereotypes.
Never was there a more copious Fancy or greater reach of Wit, than what appears in Dr. Donne; nothing can be more gallant or gentile than the poems of Mr. Waller; nothing more gay or ſprightly than thoſe of Sir John Suckling; and nothing fuller of Variety and Learning than Mr. Cowley’s.
Miss Phyllis Morgan, as the hapless heroine dressed in the shabbiest of clothes, appears in the midst of a gay and giddy throng; she apostrophises all and sundry there, including the villain, and has a magnificent scene which always brings down the house, and nightly adds to her histrionic laurels.
We launched our canoe and were off at a gay clip for Hackettstown, where Mart had a married sister, and we were figuring on big eats.
2016, Laura Jean Libbey, Mischievous Maid Faynie, Library of Alexandria, →ISBN:
"[…] there is no one more competent to make it fly at a gay pace than myself. A prince of the royal blood couldn't go at a faster pace than I have been going during these last three weeks! Ha, ha, ha!" In a moment he was kneeling before the safe.
2019, Lawrence Lariar, He Died Laughing, Open Road Media, →ISBN:
We shot along Sunset Boulevard at a gay pace, and squealed a turn down Vine Street with never a jitterbug pedestrian to make the driving interesting.
1806 (edition of 1815), John Davis, The Post-Captain, page 150:
As our heroes passed along the Strand, they were accosted by a hundred gay ladies, who asked them if they were good-natured. "Devil take me!" exclaimed Echo, "if I know which way my ship heads; but there is not a girl in the Strand that I would touch with my gloves on."
1856, Bayle St. John, The Subalpine kingdom: or, Experiences and studies in Savoy, Piedmont, and Genoa, volume 2, page 158:
Prince Borghese was what is called a "gay, dissipated man"—that is to say, a powerful person leading a debauched and infamous life.
1879, Great Britain, Reports from committees, House of Commons, page 61:
[…] it is possible for people to be diseased without being prostitutes or gay women; it is possible for people years ago to have spent a gay life and to have not got rid of their disease, or they may have become diseased by their husbands or lovers.
1889, Albert Barrère, Charles Godfrey Leland, A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant: Embracing English, American, and Anglo-Indian Slang, Pidgin English, Tinker's Jargon and Other Irregular Phraseology, volume 1, page 399:
Gay (common), loose, dissipated; a "gay woman" or "gay girl," a prostitute. "All gay," vide ALL GAY.
1898, John Mackinnon Robertson, G. Aston Singer, “The Social Evil Problem”, in The University magazine and free review: a monthly magazine, volume 9, page 308:
She imprudently forms the acquaintance of a "gay girl" living in the same street.
1899, Henry Fielding, edited by Edmund Gosse, The works of Henry Fielding with an introduction, volume 11, page 290:
"As nothing could be more gay, i.e., debauched, than Zeno's court, so the ladies of gay disposition had great sway in it; particularly one, whose name was Fausta, who, though not extremely handsome, was by her wit and sprightliness very agreeable to the emperor.
1937, Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman's Honeymoon, page 357:
"It's an odd thing," he observed, "that men like Crutchley, with quantities of large white teeth, are practically always gay Lotharios."
Most of them liked the work because it was gay and because they were able to earn more than other girls who worked in offices or city stores. They apparently remain taxi-dancers for only about a year or two[.]
While the dog in concentrating at a given task, the tail is carried low and used for balance. In excitement it may rise level with the back. A “gay” tail is a fault.
2000, David Leavitt, Martin Bauman; or, a Sure Thing:
By now Nora had left my side and was grappling with Maisie, trying to hold her still long enough to examine her bit. “You haven’t trained her well,” she muttered to Eli. “Oh, she’s got a gay tail!” Eli laughed. “A gay tail? What does that mean?” “It curls upward.” Nona let Maisie go. “Still, you never intended her to be a show dog,” she added. brushing off her skirt as she made for the house.
1832, George Pearson, Evenings by Eden-side: Or, Essays and Poems, page 67:
As his reply was rather characteristic, I will give it : Many of them come a gay bit off.
1872, William Cullen Bryant, A Library of Poetry and Song, page 106:
Thou 's wantin' a sweetheart? Thou 's had a gay few! An' thou 's cheatit them, […]
1876 (edition; original 1871), Richardson, Talk 1:
A gay deal different to what I is noo.
1881, Dixon, Craven Dales:
There were a gay bit of lace on it.
1881, Edwin Waugh, Tufts of Heather, I. 106:
T'country-side was rid on him for a gay while.
1895, Sir Hall Caine, The Shadow of a Crime: A Cumbrian Romance, page 131:
"He has a gay bit of gumption in him, has Ray. It'll be no kitten play to catch hold on him, and they know that they do." The emphasis was accompanied by a lowered tone, and a sidelong motion of the head towards a doorway […]
1903, Robert Smith Surtees, Handley Cross, New York: D. Appleton, page 431:
"It's a gay bit off, though." "Trot on!" retorted Mr. Jorrocks anxiously, spurring Arterxerxes vehemently, an insult that the animal resented by a duck of his head and a hoist of his heels. Bump, bump, trot, trot, squash, splash, swosh, they went ...
The predominant use of gay in recent decades has been in the sense homosexual, or in the pejorative sense. The earlier uses of festive, colorful and bright are still found, especially in literary contexts; however, this usage has fallen out of fashion and is now likely to be misunderstood by those who are unaware of it.
Gay is preferred to homosexual by many gay (homosexual) people as their own term for themselves. Some claim that homosexual is dated and evokes a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness by the mental health community, while others feel that the word homosexual(ity) does not express the emotional aspects of sexual orientation.
In the broad political sense, gay usually refers to anything pertaining to same-sex relationships, whether male or female: gay rights and gay marriage. When used in coordination with other terms for sexual orientations, it usually specifically refers to men who are attracted only to men, and excludes lesbians, bisexuals and other orientations, as in phrases like lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB). Context is sometimes necessary to determine whether or not gay implies male in a given phrase.
If however the stranger be suspected of “sailing under false colours," when they are all in familiar chat about nothing in particular, “Cousin Jacky” will take occasion to say to the new chum, “My dear; ded 'e ever see a duck clunk a gay?" no more deceived by him than a duck can be made to clunk (swallow) a gay (fragment of broken crockery).
Gay may be regarded as offensive when used as a noun to refer to particular individuals.
Gay is sometimes used broadly to refer to any man who is attracted to and/or sexually active with other men, or any woman attracted to or active with other women, even if not exclusively, e.g. if their orientation is in fact bisexual.
They stayed there and were gay there, not very gay there, just gay there. They were both gay there, they were regularly working there both of them cultivating their voices there, they were both gay there. Georgine Skeene was gay there and she was regular, regular in being gay, regular in not being gay, regular in being a gay one who was one not being gay longer than was needed to be one being quite a gay one. They were both gay then there and both working there then.
^ Robert K. Barnhart, ed., Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, s.v. “gay” (Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap, , c1988), 425.
^ Stephan Cohen, The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York: ‘An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail’ (2007, →ISBN), quoting Sylvia Rivera: "'If you want Gay Power, then you're going to have to fight for it. And you're going to have to fight until you win.' For Rivera, 'gay' meant non-heteronormative (or 'queer' in today's lexicon), crossing sexual and gender boundaries to include lesbians, gay men, and transvestites, as well as the street youth who had participated in Stonewall."
^ Rachel Kranz, Tim Cusick, Gay Rights (2014, →ISBN), page 3: For convenience, this volume uses gay, gay rights, and gay people as umbrella terms to include gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. In some cases transgender people are also included in the term, although many transgender people do not consider themselves gay or lesbian, and at some points in gay history, transgender rights were considered part of the gay rights movement.
^ Lacey Sloan, Nora Gustavsson, Violence and Social Injustice Against Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People (2014, →ISBN), page 116: Latina lesbians, Latino gays and bisexuals may experience a triple stigma and oppression when they are not fully accepted in the gay community because of their ethnicity
^ For example: David Kaufman, Untying the Knot: A Husband and Wife's Story of Coming Out Together (2012, →ISBN): Gays, and apparently lesbians, are discouraged from being openly bisexual. The cultural standard in the gay community is that you have to pick one sex and stick to it.
From Pitman kay, which it is derived from graphically, and the sound it represents. The traditional name gee was considered inappropriate, as the Pitman letter never has the sound of that name.
Seldom inflected, as this term does not readily fit into Finnish inflection patterns. Instead, corresponding forms of synonymous expressions or compounds such as gay-mies(“gay man”) or gay-poika(“gay boy”) are used.