adjective (gayer, gayest)
Middle English (in gay (sense 2 of the adjective)): from Old French gai, of unknown origin
Gay meaning ‘homosexual’ became established in the 1960s as the term preferred by homosexual men to describe themselves. It is now the standard accepted term throughout the English-speaking world. As a result, the centuries-old other senses of gay meaning either ‘carefree’ or ‘bright and showy’ have more or less dropped out of natural use. The word gay cannot be readily used today in these older senses without arousing a sense of double entendre, despite concerted attempts by some to keep them alive.Gay in its modern sense typically refers to men (lesbian being the standard term for homosexual women) but in some contexts it can be used of both men and women.