Home > Random Stumblz > How did the word gay come to mean homosexual?

How did the word gay come to mean homosexual?

March 17th, 2009

Today, the word gay has evolved to mean homosexual.  Many people can’t help but wonder how this came to be, when originally the word “gay” was used to mean “happy” and “cheerful.” Unfortunately, no matter how much we want to believe that the word “gay” has become corrupted because of the people today, it has in fact long been used to refer to something sexual.

Years ago in 1637, the Oxford English Dictionary defined “gay” as being addicted to the pursuit of physical and social pleasures.  It has come to refer to individuals who lead an immoral and loose life.  During the 1800s the term “gay” was also used to describe female prostitutes and to “gay it” stood for “to couple up” or “to copulate.”

In the year 1935, “geycat” was used to refer to a homosexual boy, and by 1966, “gay” had been used in the context of how it is used today.  It is believed that P. Wildeblood was the first to use the word “gay” to mean homosexuals in his notes in Against Law.  However, there’s no certainty to this, as male homosexuals could have been using the word already even long before it was publicized and popularized.

That is the story behind the word “gay” and how it came to mean homosexual.  It really didn’t just mean “happy” and “lighthearted” even from way before.  Several hundreds of years ago, it already had a connotation that implied a sexual tone.

Nowadays, the word “gay” has come to refer to other things.  Also, it has evolved and changed in a way that it not only describes male homosexuals, but female homosexuals as well.  Lesbians today can be referred to as gay.

Also, “gay” has other non-sexual meanings that are being used popularly by the public.  Teenagers especially, are using the word “gay” to mean activities that are boring and un-cool.  For example, when teenagers are asked to play doll with their younger siblings, they often comment “that’s so gay.”  This could also refer to something cheesy, such as a “gay song” or a “gay movie.”

Now you know how the word “gay” came to mean homosexual.  The next time you and your friends share pieces of trivia, you now have something interesting to share.  And when someone protests that “gay” is meant to be used as “cheery” or “light-hearted,” you now have an argument stating that even from years ago, it was already used in a sexual manner.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.