Where Did the Word Gay Come From and What Did it Mean in Old French?

The word gay comes from the Old French word “gai”, meaning “merry.”

It came to mean reckless self-indulgence in the seventeenth century, and it wasn’t until the 1930s that its homosexual connotation came out of the prison system.

The expression “gay-cat” meant a younger, inexperienced man who, in order to survive, traded his virtue for the protection and experience of an older convict.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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