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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French galant (courteous, dashing), present participle of galer (make merry), thought to be from Frankish *wala- (good, well), from Proto-Germanic *wal-, from Proto-Indo-European *wel- (to choose, wish).



gallant (comparative more gallant, superlative most gallant)

  1. Brave, valiant.
  2. Honorable.
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, Ch.I:
      Captain Edward Carlisle [] felt a curious sensation of helplessness seize upon him as he met her steady gaze, []; he could not tell what this prisoner might do. He cursed the fate which had assigned such a duty, cursed especially that fate which forced a gallant soldier to meet so superb a woman as this under handicap so hard.
  3. Grand, noble.
  4. (obsolete) Showy; splendid; magnificent; gay; well-dressed.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From French



gallant (comparative more gallant, superlative most gallant)

  1. Polite and attentive to ladies; courteous to women; chivalrous.


gallant (plural gallants)

  1. (dated) Fashionable young man, who is polite and attentive to women.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 2
      PROSPERO: [...] this gallant which thou see'st / Was in the wrack; and but he's something stain'd /with grief,—that beauty's canker,—thou mightst call him / A goodly person [...]
  2. One who woos, a lover, a suitor, a seducer.
    • 1819, John Keats, Otho the Great, Act III, Scene II, verses 140-143
      The ignominy of that whisper’d tale
      About a midnight gallant, seen to climb
      A window to her chamber neighbour’d near,
      I will from her turn off, []
  3. An animal or thing of grey colour, such as a horse, badger, or salmon.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day, / That costs thy life, my gallant grey.
  4. (nautical) topgallant


gallant (third-person singular simple present gallants, present participle gallanting, simple past and past participle gallanted)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To attend or wait on (a lady).
    to gallant ladies to the play
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To handle with grace or in a modish manner.
    to gallant a fan