, from Frankish *gāhi; both from Proto-Germanic *ganhuz, *ganhwaz. This is possibly derived from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰengʰ- ("to stride, step"), from *ǵʰēy-, but Kroonen rejects this derivation and treats the Germanic word as having no known etymology.
Cognate with Dutch gauw ("fast, quickly"), Westphalian Low German gau, gai, German jäh ("abrupt, sudden").
Anatoly Liberman, following Frank Chance and Harri Meier, believes Old French gai was instead a native development from Latin vagus ("wandering, inconstant, flighty"), with *[w] > [g] as in French gaine.
The sense of homosexual (first recorded no later than 1937 by Cary Grant in the film Bringing Up Baby, and possibly earlier in 1922 in the poem "Miss Furr and Miss Skeene" by Gertrude Stein) was shortened from earlier gay cat ("homosexual boy") in underworld and prison slang, itself first attested about 1935, but used earlier for a young tramp or hobo attached to an older one.
Pejorative usage is probably due to hostility towards homosexuality.
The sense of ‘upright’, used in reference to a dog’s tail, probably derives from the ‘happy’ sense of the word.
From Pitman kay, which it is derived from graphically, and the sound it represents. The traditional name gee was considered inappropriate, as the Pitman letter never has the sound of that name.
Modern English dictionary
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