Gay is a noun or an adjective that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual.
The term was originally used to refer to feelings of being "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy". The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century. In modern English, gay has come to be used as an adjective, and as a noun, referring to the people, especially to males, and the practices and cultures associated with homosexuality.
By the end of the 20th century, the word gay was recommended by major LGBT groups and style guides to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. At about the same time, a new, pejorative use became prevalent in some parts of the world. In the Anglosphere, this connotation, among younger speakers, has a derisive meaning equivalent to rubbish or stupid (as in "That's so gay."). In this use, the word does not mean "homosexual", so it can be used, for example, to refer to an inanimate object or abstract concept of which one disapproves. This usage can also refer to weakness or unmanliness. When used in this way, the extent to which it still retains connotations of homosexuality has been debated and harshly criticized.
Famous quotes containing the word gay:
“San Francisco is where gay fantasies come true, and the problem the city presents is whether, after all, we wanted these particular dreams to be fulfilledor would we have preferred others? Did we know what price these dreams would exact? Did we anticipate the ways in which, vivid and continuous, they would unsuit us for the business of daily life? Or should our notion of daily life itself be transformed?”
—Edmund White (b. 1940)
“Flowers and fruits are always fit presents; flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all of the utilities of the world. These gay natures contrast with the somewhat stern countenance of ordinary nature: they are like music heard out of a work-house.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Those who in quarrels interpose,
Must often wipe a bloody nose.”
—John Gay (16851732)