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How The Word Gay Went From Meaning Happy To A Reference Of Homosexuality (Essay Sample)


Definition Essay: How the word gay transition from a word meaning happy to now a term known as a reference to homosexuality
High School English Lit Honors Senior year

How the word gay went from meaning happy to a reference of homosexuality
Languages grow and develop, and over time some words come to have different meanings than the original meaning. Through history, words change their meaning and use as a language grows. According to CITATION Mir \l 1033 (Mirriam-Webster), the word gay (adjective) refers to (person, especially a man) who is homosexual. The second meaning, lighthearted and carefree. Gay can also be defined as foolish, stupid, or unimpressive. Gay as a (noun) refers to a homosexual man. However, until in the 19th century, the word gay never had a sexual connotation, thus in this article brief etymology of the word is critically elucidated.
The word ‘gay’ was adopted from the French language in the 12th century. In the old French, ‘gai’ meant joyful, happy; pleasant, agreeably charming; forward, light-colored. Upon adaptation to English in the 14th century, gay referred to" full of joy, merry; light-hearted, carefree;" also "wanton, lewd, lascivious. The original meaning in French and old English was closely related, and it stayed for several centuries without sexual connotation. Towards the end of the 17th century, the word started to refer to ‘addicted to pleasures and dissipations.’ It was a euphemistic word for to refer to people who liked to live a ‘carefree’ life and often indulged in loose sexual behavior.
The meaning of gay started to be associated it with sexua...
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