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Is the word "gay" can still be used as "Very happy" without confusion?

I just wanted to know if it's still acceptable to say I am very gay in the English language without confusion? I don't want people to think am a homosexual just happy.

November 23, 2017



That definition is dated. It's in minor usage, but most of the time it refers to homosexuality, while older texts use the word with the "happy" definition. Plus in today's slang, it typically is used for expressing dislike. (Source) I wouldn't recommend using it with that definition, as you will most likely be misunderstood, especially by millenials online.


It’s really archaic. No contemporary people use it that way anymore, just heiresses in BBC costume dramas set in the 1920s.

Also - it is seen as derogatory to use it to express dislike. Where I work - and indeed at most large corporations in the USA - if you used it that way you would be put on notice, and it would harm your prospects for advancement and put you at risk of losing your job.


I wouldn't say "archaic." There are still occasional uses of the "happy" meaning today, one example being "Deck the Halls."


“Deck the Halls” was written almost 140 years ago. We may still sing it seasonally. But we also still sing “Auld Lang Syne”. No one would mistake either for current parlance.


That's what I said. We're singing "Deck the Halls" and someone went crazy when we learned it.


Even if the context is very clear, saying that is likely to be at the very least an unintentional source of humour. You'd still be pretty safe referring to gay colours, gay plumage (of birds) and things done with gay abandon.
The related words 'gaily' and 'gaiety' have also remained pretty much unaffected by the euphemistic usage of 'gay'.


Better safe than sorry.

Use happy instead. The point is more clear, and you don't want anybody to be like "dude..." or anything. Just to be on the safe side, use 'very' and strong emotion words to express your point. 'Gay' might be less common nowadays.


It's better to say "Happy" or "in a good mood" so you won't be misunderstood. "Gay" in the 1800's had a different meaning than now, according to how it's used in older books.

People from 100 years ago had different ways of talking than now. In my dad's writings, he wrote about "The Pros and Cons of Taking People and Things for Granted" and then he gave some little stories as examples.

One of his stories was about the Flu epidemic in 1918. This was a true story and illustrates how they used the word "gay" then.

I have some of his writings typed out on my computer but I don't know where this particular story is so I'm telling it from memory.

My dad was saying in this story: "Doctors always said, Never take your health for granted." Then he told about this farmer where he grew up, who came down with the Spanish Flu, but he felt okay. Always strong and healthy, he thought little of it

It was a nice mild day for mid-winter so why not go to town to get the mail and some groceries? So he told his family he was going to town. So he hitched up the horse and wagon (this was 1918) and road GAILY into town.

(My dad used the word "gaily".) It obviously meant that the farmer was feeling good and was happy.

The ensuing day wasn't so GAY. The farmer lay stricken with a raging fever. Three days later he lay buried in a little cemetery just outside of town, on a little gravely hill.

The Spanish Flu was treacherous, almost beyond belief.

I put in Capitals where he used "gaily" and "gay" in his writing, so it would be easier to see it.

My dad was from the older generation and he used older spelling and older words from a previous generation.


oddly enough, I have a friend whose middle name is Gay, but as things are, she generally isn't the happiest of people


I would say yes, but not in everyday life. People older than the age of 10 will know that it doesn't mean homosexual, it just depends on the context. If it can go either way in the context, they will most likely assume you are referring to homosexuality

[deactivated user]

    It's highly unlikely for anyone to use it that way at all, or to even think you mean happy. Like the word faggot it didn't originally mean a homosexual man, but now if you used it that is what people would now think. There are many other words you can use to say that you are happy without any confusion.


    What about am very "merry"?


    Merry would work better than gay, but you'd still probably get weird looks unless it's December.


    While few would be confused by the literal meaning of an expression like "I am very merry," "merry" is almost exclusively used to refer to the "holiday spirit" surrounding Christmas. "Merry Christmas" is the only currrent expression that still uses the phrase.

    Where I live, the midwestern United States, simply stating "I am merry" is more likely to be taken as meaning that your name is "Mary" than that you are happy.

    Better options for "very happy" include: "thrilled" or "excited" and there are, of course, slang options like "pumped" and "stoked."


    "Merry" and "thrilled" are used with approximately the same frequency in contemporary English (see Google NGrams). Of course, they're not synonyms.

    I find the notion that there is anything outdated or uncommon about the word "merry" exceedingly odd. Yeah, it's been trending down over the decades, but it's still three times more common than a word as completely ordinary and common as "drowsy," for example.


    Where do you live? In the Midwest US, no one uses "merry."


    Its not used that way anymore. And don't use fag for cigarette, at least in the U.S.


    Complements to the community on the thoughtful responses to this topic


    It's fine. We have to sing a song and it says, "Don we now our gay apparel" and it's meant as happy. I guess, depending on who you're with, and how you say it, it doesn't matter. Besides, if someone thought you meant you like people of your gender, that shouldn't matter. People who make a big deal of it aren't good. Sorry, I have a best friend that is gay and I hate how people act about it.


    This has nothing to do with judgements about homosexuality, just purely linguistics. The fact is that aside from Victorian novels, or songs written decades ago (like “Deck The Halls,” which dates from 1881, or the ever fabulous Cole Porter), no one uses it to mean “happy” any more. It’s simply passed out of use in that context.

    Language changes with time. “Cute” used to mean shrewd, now it means adorable. “Nice” used to mean foolish and now it means kind. “Gay” In 21st century English parlance no longer means happy in any but the most obscure contexts.


    Good response RebeccaLev763646. And also to note, here we are a supportive and inclusive environment.
    We make people welcome from wherever they are in the world, and whatever their beliefs are.

    And language is all about how we connect. And our connections and support of ALL of us as individuals matters to us. For this is a safe, and guarded environment for ALL to learn languages.


    yup! it used to mean very happy in uk in victorian era!

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