Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gay adj.

[the use of gay as a self-description by homosexuals originated shortly after WWI, prob. an abbr. of US tramp sl. gaycat n., the young homosexual companion of an older tramp; but note Rodgers, The Queen’s Vernacular (1972) suggests: ‘fr. 16th cent Fr. gaie = homosexual man’; this has not been substantiated); the wider use in the heterosexual world did not begin until c.1970, with the emergence of the Gay Liberation Front, first in the US and subseq. in the UK. With the decline of derog. terms, such as queer adj. (5), gay is now effectively SE; thus note Melly, Owning Up (1965): ‘I’d never heard the word “gay” at that time [i.e. 1945]. “Queer” was in more general use even among homosexuals’]

1. of a woman, leading an immoral life, working as a prostitute.

[UK]Chaucer Miller’s Tale line 3769: What eyeleth you? som gay gerl, God it woot, Hath broght yow thus up-on the veritoot.
W. Cornwallis Essayes of Certaine Paradoxes F2v: [Pox is found] amongst the lusty gallants, and gay Ladies that ruffle it in silkes.
[UK]N. Ward London Spy XV 370: The Gay Curtezan who Trades for Gold.
[UK]J. Davis Post Captain (1813) 150: As our heroes passed along the Strand, they were accosted by a hundred gay ladies.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 131: Nell, as a gay woman, gave preference to being the chère ami of a Duke.
[UK]Flash Mirror 11: Why is a gay mot like Jeremy Diddler? — Because she’ll take in any man.
True Flash 4 Dec. n.p.: Among the gay sisters of our city, this is without doubt the most remarkable.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 24 Dec. n.p.: The young woman at the bar had for some years been what was termed a ‘gay woman’.
[UK]J.E. Ritchie Night Side of London 48: The gay women, as they are termed, are worse off than American slaves.
[UK]Birmingham Dly Post 26 Dec. 3/4: ‘My mother, known as “Flash Poll” [...] deserted me to become a “gay” woman’.
[US]Chicago Times 5 Aug. n.p.: And right among these [houses], as snug as a bug in a rug, Our Carter has allowed a number of gay damsels to nestle down.
[UK]London Life 21 June 3/2: Gay wives generally imbibe pretty freely of all kinds of wines, and especially champagne, as the depression consequent upon their gaiety is so great that they would be unfit for anything were it not for taking stimulants.
[UK]London Life 9 Aug. 6/1: [T]he greater number of these " Pimlico Harpies" have themselves been ‘gay women’.
[UK]W.H. Stead ‘How Girls Are Bought and Ruined’ in Pall Mall Gazette in Metropolitan Poor III 13: As a regular thing, the landlady of a bad house lets her rooms to gay women and lives on their rent.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) I 11: What strikes me as curious [...] is the monotony of the course I have pursued towards women who were not of the gay class.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 4: Gay - Loose, dissipated, ‘Gay woman,’ kept mistress or prostitute.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 31: Gay, dissipated, loose, etc.; gay woman, a prostitute.
[UK]J. Caminada Twenty-Five Years of Detective Life II 384: A better class of what were grimly called ‘gay’ women.
[US]Wood & Goddard Dict. Amer. Sl. 20: gay, a gay woman. One happy; one unchaste.

2. promiscuous, dissipated; cite 1863 (2) is used of a place.

[UK]Shakespeare Othello II i: She that was ever fair and never proud, Had tongue at will and yet was never loud, Never lack’d gold and yet went never gay.
[UK]N. Field Woman is a Weathercock II ii: Ha’ you not heard nor read / Of some base slave that, wagging his fair-head, / Does whistling at one end of his shop-walk, / Whilst some Gay man doth vomit bawdy talk / In his wife’s ears at the other.
[UK]J. Shirley Lady of Pleasure V i: Gay men have a privilege in rudeness.
[UK] ‘Song of my Mistress’ Academy of Complements 164: [She is] so Frolick and Gay.... For Love was all her Play.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy V 23: Kind Sir, indeed, we stand in need, / Altho’ we are fine and gay.
[UK]Adventurer in Berguer XXV 124: The old gentleman, whose character I cannot better express than in the fashionable phrase which has been contrived to palliate false principles and dissolute manners, had been a gay man, and was well acquainted with the town.
[UK]Nocturnal Revels I 15: Some of the first-rate Thais’s who afterwards figured in gay life, were trained in her seminary.
[UK]Belle’s Stratagem 44: I’m certain I’ve lur’d Doricourt! — What a figure I shall cut in the gay world!
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 187: You may chaff, hit, and run with the gayest boys in our circle of acquaintances.
[UK]Egan Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 179: Sporting Betsey was a gay creature from the cradle.
[US]R.P. Robinson Life and Conversations 17: In the gay assemblages to which my inclination often bore me, I met with many inducements to dissipation.
[UK]R. Barham ‘Aunt Fanny’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1842) 140: She discovered one day, / Cornet Jones of the Tenth was a little too gay [...] She found he’d already a wife at Cambray.
[UK]T. Taylor Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act III: I believe they are the work of a late clerk of ours — who got into gay company, poor lad, and has gone to the bad.
[UK]Belfast News Letter 12 Sept. n.p.: The defendent again denied that her house was ‘gay’, or that she kept ‘lady’ lodgers.
[UK]F.W. Green ‘Naughty Young Man’ 🎵 We gay naughty young fellows, / Do love so a deuce of a spree.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 58: He was a bookkeeper for a large pork house; became infatuated with a gay married woman.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 243: Wed’ been living too gay and free a life to begin with the jug all over again.
E.W. Rogers [perf. Marie Lloyd] The Barmaid 🎵 Then the gay old boys come in / Fix their eye-glass, do a grin.
[US]F. Norris Vandover and the Brute (1914) 58: She was very clever: half her acquaintances, even the men, did not know how ‘gay’ she was.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 37: I ’m getting a little bit gay wit dat langwudge meself.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 26 Nov. 4/8: And Mrs B., in her jolly way, / Was disposed to be, shall we say it? gay.
[US]F.P. Dunne Mr Dooley Says 15: Far too gay aven f’r thim friv’lous people.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 4 May 5/5: They ain’t all composed of flappers / What’s eighteen, or on that way. / No, nor fancy females, either / What are (as some calls ’em) ‘gay’.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 164: Two on ’em – swell dressers – gay birds.
[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 207: They don’t razz me for not going on wild parties, though I know that some of the fellows are pretty gay themselves.

3. slightly drunk, tipsy.

[UK]Garrick Lying Valet II i: She got so very gay after dinner, she could not walk out of her own house; so her maid, who was half gone too, came here with an excuse.
[US]J.K. Paulding Bucktails (1847) III ii: Enter [...]The admiral fuddledthe rest somewhat gay.
[UK]Pierce Egan’s Wkly Courier 22 Mar. 4/1: On Wednesday last, the ‘gay boys’ of the Emerald isle had a day of their own, and the purlieus of the Holy Land and the precincts of Whitechapl were literally drained to witness the mill.
[Scot]J. Strang Glasgow and Its Clubs 221: Accidentally becoming gay upon ale, or accidentally keeping sober on toddy.
[US]O. Wister Jimmyjohn Boss and Other Stories 59: The drunkards felt the crisis to be a strain upon their sobered nerves [...] ‘Oh well, you’d have got gay. A man gets gay’.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Joy Ride’ in Backblock Ballads 103: They ses we painted Fernville red; / They ses that we were gay.
[US]R. McAlmon ‘Blithe Insecurities’ in Knoll McAlmon and the Lost Generation (1976) 83: Marie was gay, having had three bottles of beer.
[US] (ref. to 1920s) R. McAlmon Being Geniuses Together 55: He seemed gay as he entered, however, so that he may have had an extra cognac or so.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 18 July. [synd. col.] In the Stork [Club] the other night, a movie exec [...] was feeling pretty gay.
[US]L. Shecter On the Pad 294: I start hitting the booze. It’s all I can get down. I’m getting pretty gay.

4. (also gey) fine, first-rate.

‘Humours of Glasgow Fair’ [broasdsheet ballad] Now Willock had trysted wi’ Jennie, / For she was a braw canty Quean, Word gaed she had a gay pennie, / For which Willie fondly did green.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 49: As I was drest in my store clothes & had a lot of sweet-scented wagon-grease on my hair, I am free to confess that I thought I lookt putty gay.
[US]Appleton’s Journal (N.Y.) 29 Jan. 133: Anything that is admirable is nowadays said in slang phrase to be ‘dusty,’ that same as it might be ‘gay,’ or ‘bully,’ or ‘jolly’.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 17 May 22/1: The legal gentlemen [...] seem of late to be having a good old gay time of it.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn 110: ‘Why, they [...] can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to them.’ ‘Ain’ dat gay?’.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 18 Nov. 5/3: All gay!
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 98: He certainly knew what was Expected of a Man who wanted to give a Gay Girl the Time of her Life.
[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 77: ‘All gay, I see,’ she said with a sigh of relief.
[UK]Marvel 8 May 11: ‘Oh, that’s all gay!’ exclaimed Algy.

5. (US, also gey) forward, impertinent, over-familiar; esp. in phr. get gay (with), to be cheeky, impertinent (towards).

[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 152: I guess you won’t carry on so Gay since he’s come.
[UK]Sporting Times 21 Apr. 1/4: Auah now, don’t get gay — for the horses to be sure.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 98: If you get gay I’ll treat you like I would a hoss thief.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 252: The second policeman gave it as his opinion that Jack was getting too gay.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Jim Maitland (1953) 78: But if any of his pals get gay, I rely on you.
[US](con. 1914–18) L. Nason Three Lights from a Match 257: He’s too gay with them knuckles o’ his.

6. (orig. US) of sexual orientation, homosexual; thus gayly adv. (see cit. c.1948).

[US]Fred Fisher ‘Chicago’ in Newton (1972) 🎵 Unless they change the laws, they’ll never keep it from being gay. / I had the time, the time of my life, / I found a guy who had another guy for his wife. / Well, where else, but in Chicago.
[US]G. Stein Miss Furr and Miss Skeene in Katz Gay/Lesbian Almanac (1983) 406: Helen Furr and Georgine Skeene lived together then. Georgine Skeene liked travelling. Helen Furr did not care about travelling, she liked to stay in one place and be gay there. They were together then and travelled to another place and stayed there and were gay there [...] She told many then the way of being gay, she taught very many then little ways they could use in being gay.
[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 194: Some tough sailors whom some gay thing had cruised and dragged into the party. [Ibid.] 213: There were Fay and Whitey and Linberg and four or five more gay young things that fluttered as they walked along.
[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 13 Sept. 9/7: While in Greenburg he was very gay [...] his former little [sweet] heart will cry, when she discovers he’s found a new love — a guy!
[US] ‘Chambers & Hiss in Betrayed’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 125: Alger Hiss is gayly blowing Whittaker Chambers’ prick.
[US]Mad mag. May–June 41: They want you to keep a poodle as a pet because it’s très gay.
[US]K. Marlowe Mr Madam (1967) 260: Some nellie old ribbon counter clerk [...] Gay as pink ink!
[US]C. McFadden Serial 56: She didn’t have trouble relating to gay men.
[US] (ref. to 1970s) in Walking After Midnight (1989) 72: Using the word ‘gay’ was symbolic – I was casting off the word ‘homo’ .
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 280: I’m dwelling on it and flicking through a copy of the Evening Chronicle which I have bummed from a little gay cha-cha dancer.
[US]Source Nov. 170: I mean, what’s wrong wit’ him. You the cool one. That nigga gay or somethin’?
K. McGarry Fatherhood for Gay Men 1: My path to fatherhood was as emotionally difficult as had been my coming out as a gay man many years earlier.
[Aus]Woroni (Canberra) 1 Oct. 13/3: A whole lot of B&G residents are hot. Or at least not manky. And the ones that are hot aren’t gay for the most part.
[Scot]L. McIlvanney All the Colours 19: With their neat haircuts, preppy short-sleeved shirts and matching satchels they looked pretty gay.
[US]NY Rev. Books 9-22 Dec. 12/4: There’s perhaps a bit of the ‘gay grapple’ about it, that extra determination with which a gay actor [...] goes at a straight love scene.
[Scot]G. Armstrong Young Team 90: ‘Shakespeare is heavy gay’.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 21: ‘So Michael Wilding’s a gay caballero?’ ‘In spades, love. His house is known as the “Fruit Stand”’.

7. of a place, catering for or frequented by homosexuals.

[US]R. McAlmon Lodging House (1963) 90: Why had people told her Berlin was gay? Already she hated the place.
[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy xvi 119: It was shortly after this that Fay and Henri began to habituate the gay Bohemian places of the town.
[UK]K. Williams Diaries 16 Jan. 8: Went round to the gay bar which wasn’t in the least gay and saw K and Co.
[US]C. Brossard Bold Saboteurs (1971) 151: The queerest joint in town, a ‘gay’ bar where all the liver-lipped faggots flocked.
[US]‘Lou Rand’ Gay Detective (2003) 37: Since the war, we’ve got this new thing in Bay City. Everyone calls them ‘gay.’ We have gay bars, gay parks, gay clubs, gay theaters and hotels.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 19: The ‘h’ was added for business reasons when the place went obviously gay.
[UK]Flame : a Life on the Game 113: A gay club? It had never struck me that there would be a gay club in Bournemouth.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 199: ‘This isn’t a gay bar?’, the man asked.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 5 Jan. 4: I doubt that you’ll find many gay bars in Ballymena.

8. of behaviour, mannerisms, feelings, events, social circles etc, homosexual.

[US]S. Kahn Mentality and Homosexuality viii 128: Homosexuals use drugs in order to make them gay and womanish, give them courage, remove self control and sometimes increase the passions.
[US]Bing Crosby ‘Gay Love’ 🎵 I may seem proud / And I may act gay; / It’s just a pose. / I’m not that way.
[UK]N. Coward Words and Music in Lyrics (1983) 132: Mad about the boy, / It’s pretty funny but I’m mad about the boy, / He has a gay appeal; / That makes me feel / There’s something sad about the boy.
[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 333: The Englishman drank quite too much brandy and became proportionately gay; it takes alcohol to make them forget their inhibitions.
[UK]W. Plomer Dorking Thigh (1945) 15: He prances forward with his hands outspread / And folds all comers in a gay embrace.
[US]advert for Mona’s Club 440 [a lesbian club] ‘Butch’ Minton Singing Gay Songs.
[US]A. James America’s Homosexual Underground 33: He can look forward to all the gay evenings at the theatre that he’s dreamed about.

9. (orig. US campus) a general pej.; stupid, ugly, eccentric, weak; of a man, lacking in masculinity but not actually homosexual.

[US]Boogie Down Productions ‘Bridge Is Over’ 🎵 Because Shan and Marley Marl dem-a-rhymin like they gay / Pickin up the mic, mon, dem don’t know what to say.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 3: gay – strange, dislikeable: ‘Going to the library on Saturday night is gay’.
[UK]Indep. Education 8 July 3: Those boys who have girls as friends, rather than having ‘girlfriends’, are also likely to be labelled ‘gay’.
[UK]D. Mitchell Black Swan Green 3: Woolly hats’re gay.
[Aus] 21 Mar. 🌐A common saying now among us young people is: ‘That is so gay’ [...] They said the word gay also meant lame or rubbish.
[UK]S. Kelman Pigeon English 5: This is so gay, I’m not doing it no more!
[Aus]me-stepmums-too-fuckin-hot-mate at 🌐 I got this gay school project. I gotta write a paper on chicks’ underwear.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 167: ‘I want to be a veterinarian’ [...] ‘That’s gay’ [...] ‘Juggling is gay!’.
[Scot]G. Armstrong Young Team 100: Go tae pictures [...] but it wis gay noo without burds.

In derivatives

Gayborhood (n.)

(US) an area of a town or city mainly frequented by homosexuals.

[US]Philadelphia Dly News (PA) 2 June 16/2: For 10 years I have lived in the area affectionately called the ‘gayborhood’ [...] I like the fact [...] our owntown [in Philadelphia] is easily accessible and that the center of the lesbian abd gay community is equally identifiable.
[US]Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) 6 May B01/4: The annual PrideFest Sunday OUT block party [...] brought thousands to the sun-dappled streets of what is known as the Gayborhood, around 12th and Locust Streets.
Dallas Voice 11 May 🌐 [headline] Arsonist strikes the gayborhood [...] ‘Most people, even if they’re from out of town, know what area this is,’ Brown said.
[US]Baltimore Sun (MD) 3 June T4/1: There should be city recognition of the Gayborhood.
gaycation (n.)

(gay) a holiday in an all-homosexuals environment.

J.K. Baughman Villages by an Emerald Sea 42: And as a result of a couple of Houston visits I must now find someone to subsidize me for a Cuernavaca gaycation. 🌐 [TV series title] Gaycation.
Moonlight on Roseville Beach: A Queer Guide for Amateur Sleuths 🌐 [game title] It’s hard to enjoy your gaycation when there’s...A Mystery to Solve!

Pertaining to female promiscuity or prostitution

In compounds

gay dirt (n.)

(US gay) a tough, masculine homosexual who expects money or gifts as a reward for sexual favours.

[US]Homosexuality & Citizenship in Florida 24: Glossary of Homosexual Terms [...] gay dirt: A gay person who is considered tough and who expects money or clothing, by force of necessary, after a mutual sexual affair with another gay person .
gay girl (n.)

1. a promiscuous girl or woman.

[UK]Times 29 Oct. 7/1: [Her] clothes were afterwards fetched away by the prosecutrix and a gay girl who paid the rent which was due. The gay girl [...] could have no communication with the witness .
[US]G. Thompson Gay Girls of N.Y. 11: Look at that ‘Gay Girl’ in white – the emblem of long-departed purity.
[US]S. Andrews [bk title] Wicked Nell, a Gay Girl of the Town.
[UK]D. Stewart Tragedy of the White House in Illus. Police News 10 Sept. 12/1: ‘I’m a gay girl, but I’m not all bad!’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 16 July 24/2: It was a clever though fatal mistake on the part of the handsome respondent’s barrister – fatal because Mrs. Gaygirl some time later appeared to answer a similar charge [i.e. of adultery], and ‘the person mentioned in the proceedings’ was this time the barrister who had rigged up her twin sister at the previous proceedings.
[Ire]J. Phelan Letters from the Big House 85: Gaygirl. On the pickup.
[Ire]J. Phelan Tramp at Anchor 10: Beggars and ballad-singers and gay girls and tramps passing through.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 159: a prostitute [...] gay girl (Brit hetero sl).
[US]Maledicta IX 143: In Britain, a gay girl is not a lesbian but a whore.

2. (also gay kid) a lesbian.

[US]J. Ellis [bk title] Gay Girl [cover line] Eve was so beautiful and open to love — but she chose to seek satisfaction inside her own sex.
[US](con. 1930s-40s) Kennedy & Davies Boots of Leather (2014) 7: Some people, not all, would use the term ‘gay girls,’ or ‘gay kids’ to refer to either butch or fem, or both.
gay house (n.) [house n.1 (1)]

a brothel or a lodging house where the rooms were hired for couples to have intercourse.

[UK]‘How to Get into the Ladie’s Good Graces’ in Gentleman’s Private Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 371: He’d take her out, / To concert and to playhouse too, / And wanted, no doubt, / To take her to a gay-house too.
[UK]London Dispatch 23 Oct. 5/1: The house was described by one witness as lodging-house, and another a gay house.
[UK]Leicester Chron. 9 May 1/3: Stone charged the complainant with keeping prostitutes, and he returned the charge by saying that Stone had kept a gay house for seven years.
[UK]Reynolds’s Newspaper 25 Dec. 4/2: He took me to a ‘gay house’ and paid 6d for the room [...] I knew it was a ‘gay house’ by the women there, and the charge for the room. The 6d. was given to a stout woman.
J.W. McGill Loving-Kindness 79: She enters the temple of lust, and the door shuts her in with what she loathes and hates* [note] *‘Nothing but sheer starvation would have forced me to the life,‘ said a girl of eighteen, the other day, who had twice been Mistress of a ‘gay house’.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 14 May 3/4: A boy, sixteen years of age, who [...] had been living in a gay house in most extravagant manner, was charged [etc.].
[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 12: The Jehu set him down at the door of the liveliest kind of gayest house that he knew.
[Aus]S. James Vagabond Papers (3rd series) 78: The Jews, who supply them with their finery, [...] are in league with the ‘bossees’ of the ‘gay houses,’ in keeping their victims under their control.
[UK]London Life 5/1: Police are not above taking money from keepers of gay houses.
[UK]News of the World 18 Nov. in R.T. Hopkins Life and Death at the Old Bailey (1935) 216: A full report on the inquest appears in the News of the World [...] Here we learn that Jane Kelly lived for some time at a ‘gay house’ in the West End of London.
[UK]Nottingham Eve. Post 12 May 4/3: Once she saw him go into a gay house. —Other evidence was given to show that respondent had visited houses of ill-repute.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 16 Mar. 3/6: His reverence (to confessing penitent, who has Just accused himself of getting drunk and visiting a gay house [...] There ye are, me bhoy! I gin’rally notice that whinever ye have yore punch ye must have yere Judy.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
D.D. Harrison Black Pearls 150: During that period they [musicians] were engaged for gay houses by ‘landladies’.
gay lady (n.)

(also gay woman) a prostitute.

[UK]Chester Chron. 1 Dec. 4/5: Anne Johnson, a gay lady, was brought up from the city gaol, charged the watchman with being drunk last evening, and conducting herself in a disorderly manner in the streets.
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 15 Sept. 31/1: She removed from the banker’s to a furnished lodging in [...] St. James’, and became a professed gay lady.
[UK]Peeping Tom (London) 32 128/2: [P]rigs, gay women, flash men, coves out of luck [etc].
[Scot]Dundee Courier 26 Nov. 4/2: The ‘gay lady’ of Brompton or Regent’s Park .
[UK]Sportsman 29 Sept. 2/1: Notes on News [...] [A] crusade was set foot by the Regent-street tradesmen against the painted ‘gay ladies’ of that vicinity.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) I 155: Gay or modest, it is the same among the English, although a gay lady will yield to please her friend.
[US](con. 1900s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 22: He had been a boisterous lout who looked shamefaced in the presence of gay ladies.
[Aus]N. Lindsay Redheap (1965) 195: ‘The old snufflebuster’s [...] probably taking a gay lady to the Café Dinat by this time’ .
[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 285: Holding forth on the art of living off the gay ladies of the evening.
gay moll (n.)

(US und.) a prostitute.

[US]Criminal Life (NY) 19 Dec. n.p.: Where is the white coat? [...] has some gay moll made a skirt of it?

In phrases

go gay (v.)

1. to commit adultery.

[UK]Hickscorner Biii: There may be many goodly gylte knyues And I troe as well apparaylled wyues Yet many of them be unthryfty of theyr lyes And all set in pryde to go gaye.

2. to pursue a career as a prostitute.

[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) IX 1808: She told Nelly she’d ‘go gay’ but Nelly strongly advised her not.

3. to become homosexual.

L. Levenson Butterfly Man xvii. 181: ‘I’m through with what he calls lyric love and emotional orgasms.’ ‘Meaning what?’ ‘I’m going gay.’.
Nichols & Wilde Bringing Up Baby [film script] No! I’ve just gone gay ... all of a sudden.
[Aus]Benjamin & Pearl Limericks Down Under 63: A pretty young playboy in Yea / Decided he’d like to go gay.

4. (Aus.) to have sexual intercourse.

[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘Cats on the Rooftops’ in Snatches and Lays 25: The poor domestic doggie, on the chain all day, / Never gets a chance to let himself go gay.

Pertaining to homosexuality

In derivatives

gayola (n.) [-ola sfx; on pattern of SE payola]

1. (US Und.) pay-offs and bribes made to police or organized crime to permit the running of gay clubs; also attrib.

[US]Time 21 Jan. 41: There is also a constant opportunity for blackmail and for shakedowns by real or phony cops, a practice known as ‘gayola’.
[US]Sat. Rev. (US) 12 Feb. 23: Homosexual bars, steam baths, restaurants and moviehouses everywhere pay ‘gayola’ to crime syndicates and to law enforcement agencies.
J. D’Emilio Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities (1998) 183: The ‘gayola’ scandal, as the press dubbed it, led to indictments against seven police officers.

2. (US) a homosexual man.

Weekly World News 5 July 23: Mercy knows how many other gayolas are swishing around the plant [HDAS].

In compounds

gay boy (n.)

(US) a male homosexual; also attrib.

[[US]L.A. Eve. Herald 5 Jan. [comic strip title] Percy Gayboy].
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 12 May 12/1: ‘Well I [...] figgers I better begin smackin’ the gay boys for thick jits an’ thin dimes’.
J. Adams Cindy & I 24: Came the sudden realization that he was attracting the attention of the Limp Wrist Set . Some of the gay boys even waved. When one lavender lad made eyes at him , he decided it was time to return home.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 3: I coundn’t see the sense in Lou Pulco sending me [...] to the Coast to play hotsy-totsy with a gay boy.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Sea Voyage’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 142: The gay boy had been pressing Phil to go below with him.
[UK]B. Fallowell One Hot Summer in St Petersburg 192: If I invite a man here she says he’s a murderer or a gay boy.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 3: gayboyfriend – gay male participant in a platonic relationship with a female.
[UK]R. Milward Apples (2023) 12: He always had the real gayboy types [of popper n.2 (4)] like Hard and Liquid Gold.

see separate entries.

gaydar (n.) [play on SE radar]

(gay) the (alleged) sensory perception that lesbians and gays have of detecting other gay people in their midst.

[US]D. Shewey in Village Voice (N.Y.) 11 Feb. 42: But the fear of gay men is not to be discounted. My gaydar tells me that up to 30 per cent of the men at the Santa Fe and New York weekends are gay, bisexual, or undeclared.
Bay Area Reporter 12 Dec. 16: Gaydar: the mysterious ability of homosexual men and women to detect fellow homosexuals who may look, dress and act like heterosexuals.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 21 Aug. 5: ‘My gay-dar is infallible,’ he said. ‘And let me tell you, you are gay!’.
K. Rushny Children of Kali 244: Do you think gay men exist in India? [...] Cos I got my gay-dar switched on and I’m not getting any beeps!
gay girl (n.)

(US gay) a stereotypically effeminate homosexual man.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 73: stereotype effeminate homosexual [...] gay girl (camp).
gay goddess (n.)

(US gay) a heterosexual woman who prefers the company of gay men.

[US] Queer Sl. in the Gay 90s 🌐 Gay Goddess – Another term for Fag Hags. Heterosexual women who socialize extensively with gay men.
gaylord (n.)

an ineffectual individual, thence a homosexual.

[US]‘Jennifer Blowdryer’ Modern English 10: In England a lot of words mean jerk, including cunt, wally, gaylord and joey .
Tracks (Sydney) Feb. 5/4: I think gaylords should be castrated then hung up by the toes and beaten to death by an organic carrot.
[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz Apr. 49: Yorkie bar n. A puddle jumper, botter or gaylord.
[UK]D. Mitchell Black Swan Green 58: They [...] made me pose in the library reading a book like a complete gaylord.
[UK]G. Malkani Londonstani (2007) 34: Fuck off, you wanker, an stop callin me a gaylord.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 96: You’d think he was a nailed-on gaylord if he wasn’t trying to fuck a fit bird.
C. Moran in Times Mag. 6 Nov. 9/1: Kids in the playground don’t really shout ‘Gaylord!’ any more. Or ‘Spaz’, or ‘Mong’, or ‘Lezza’, or ‘Flid’.
gay trade (n.) [trade n. (3)]

a homosexual man who is happy to be fellated or to perform anal intercourse but will not reciprocate by offering his mouth or anus in return.

[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ et al. Gay Girl’s Guide 10: gay trade: Male who wants to be ‘blown’ but will not reciprocate. He may be otherwise gay himself, or bisexual, and will kiss, pet, and perform other expected requirements.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 18: gay trade (n.): A homosexual who performs only the inserter part of the sex act; he is the party who is fellated, or he is the pedicator during intercourse.
gaywad (n.)

(US) a general term of abuse, the implication being of homosexuality or lack of masculinity. 23 May 🌐 Hey, does anyone else here agree that James Spader is a Gaywad, and that it was totally rad when he got pissed on in the new movie Wolf?
Onion 10 Feb. 🌐 In a historic show of wad solidarity, delegates representing gaywads and dorkwads signed the first-ever Wad Alliance Treaty.
in Urban Dict. 6 May 🌐Gaywad. a jackass. or someone who you would consider gay as an insult...who is stupid at the same time.
GQ July 92: [headline] Did You Just Call Me A Gaywad?: A GQ Guide To Homophobia.
Twitter 9 Aug. 🌐 I don't want to wear pudding in my hair while he [i.e. Eric Trump] holds me down by the back of my neck and calls me a gaywad.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

gay boy

(US) a ‘man about town’, an urban hedonist.

[US]N.E. Police Gaz. (Boston, MA) 18 Aug. 7/2: George B— took his ‘moll’ out to Coney Island last Sunday. Gay boy on four dollars a week.
gay deceivers (n.) [pun on original use, a deceitful rake]

1. a padded brassiere that accentuates the shape and dimensions of otherwise diminutive female breasts.

in J. Gassner (ed.) Best Plays of Modern Amer. Theatre 21: Amanda: They call them ‘Gay Deceivers’ Laura. I won’t wear them! Amanda. You will! [...] Because, to be painfully honest, your chest is flat.
[US]R. Pesotta Bread Upon the Waters 347: These hand-made, soft, full false breasts, ‘gay deceivers,’ which made the figures of slim, flat-chested movie stars look so attractive in the films.
[US]L. Ferlinghetti Starting from San Francisco 34: Sex without love wears gay deceivers I still have one of her breasts in my hand.
[US](con. 1940s) C. Bram Hold Tight (1990) 210: The boy had been found wearing the dress and ‘gay deceivers.’.
[US]D. Lypchuk ‘A dirty little story’ in eye mag. 8 July 🌐 At first, he thought her British Standard handfuls were the result of gay deceivers.

2. (US gay) a large artificial penis worn beneath the trousers to accentuate one’s apparent sexual allure.

[US] (ref. to mid-late 1960s) B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 62: dildo worn beneath the pants by a drag butch or a homosexual to give the appearance of a larger basket. Syn: gay deceiver (mid-late ’60s).

In phrases

do the gay (v.)

to have a good time.

[UK] ‘’Arry in Parry’ in Punch 15 Nov. 217/1: For, in course, to be out of the chat floors a feller in doing the gay.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the ’Oliday Season’ in Punch 16 Aug. 74/3: He was doin’ the gay at a Caffy, was Bob, petty vair, and all that.
gay for pay (adj.)

(gay) one who is not actively homosexual (or does not admit it) but provides sex for money .

[NZ]W. Ings ‘Trolling the Beat to Working the Soob’ in Int’l Jrnl Lexicog. 23:1 74: Gay for pay describes a male worker who does not identify as homosexual but provides sex for men in exchange for money.
gay tyke boy (n.) [SE tyke, a dog]

a dog-fancier.

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry I viii: The half-and-half coves are somewhat different from the swaddies, and gay tyke boys, at the dog pit – Eh, Tom?
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
Gay White Way (n.)

see separate entry.

get gay (with) (v.)

1. to be aggressive; to behave unpleasantly.

[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 21 Aug. 11/1: This may make Mr Sullivan’s angry passions rise [...] but Mr Sullivan is a very single-minded in the ring and there is a bare possibility that he may get ‘gay’.
[US]S. Crane Ruth 18 Mar. in Stallman (1966) 21: Yehs needn’t git gay. See? When a feller asts a civil question yehs needn’t git gay.
[Scot]Aberdeen Eve. Exp. 6 Apr. 5/2: ‘Don’t get gay,’ warned the copper.
[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. x: The prima donna got too gay and when they struck New York the home office got wise.
[US]A. Adams Wells Brothers 🌐 Ch. ii: They got gay on my hands last summer, held me down to the straight road brand at delivery.
[US]J. McCulley ‘Thubway Tham’s Inthane Moment’ in Detective Story 19 Nov. 🌐 I reckon these New York slickers don’t get gay with me!
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Pit of the Serpent’ Fight Stories July 🌐 ‘The lady is engaged at present, stupid,’ says I, poking my jaw out. [...] ‘Don’t get gay with me, Costigan,’ says he, nastily.
[US]P.J. Wolfson Bodies are Dust (2019) [ebook] ‘When I get as old as you...’ ‘Don’t get gay. I can go you time for time’.
N. Mailer letter 14 Mar. in Selected Letters (2014) 56: Then he got gay [...] real gay as if he was drunk, and he went around hittin’ guys on the back.
[NZ]I. Hamilton Till Human Voices Wake Us 62: You might get gay with it [i.e. solitary confinement] and start smashing up.

2. (mainly US) to tease, to provoke, to be flippant.

[UK]Manchester Courier 8 Dec. 14/3: [report is from Chicago] ‘Don’t get gay, my friend,’ said the footpad, grabbing the pocket book.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 104: I was dyin t’ do him, along wid him tryin t’ get gay wid de Duchess.
[US]A. Adams Log Of A Cowboy 268: The waiter got gay and told him that he couldn’t have them, – ‘that he was full of prunes now’.
[UK]Wodehouse ‘Crowned Heads’ in Man with Two Left Feet 88: The feller that tries to get gay with me is going to get a call-down that’ll make him holler for his winter overcoat.
[US](con. 1890s) H. Asbury Gangs of N.Y. 275: ‘I like de kits and boids,’ Eastman used to say. ‘I’ll beat up any guy dat gets gay wit’ a kit or a boid in my neck of de woods.’.
[US]W.M. Raine Cool Customer 243: ‘Don’t get gay with me, young woman,’ O’Sullivan advised, his face red.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 293: Don’t get gay with me, cheapie. You’re out of time for all that.
[US]J. Thompson Pop. 1280 in Four Novels (1983) 392: She was letting him get pretty gay with her.

3. to go into action, to get on with things.

[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 42: [She] got gay in Austria and married again.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 310: And you can tell de Spider [...] dat next time he gits gay and starts to shoot guys in me dance-joint I’ll bite de head off’n him.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Bulldog Drummond 162: One brief interlude, my dear old warriors [...] and then we must get gay.
[US]M. Spillane One Lonely Night 155: You got real gay in the end though.

4. to have sex.

[Aus]C.H. Thorp Handful of Ausseys 155: You can’t expect a bloke away over here with plenty of dough not to get gay when ’e’s takin’ a sportin’ kind uv sheila about.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Malibu Mess’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective Dec. 🌐 Yes, we’ve been on parties together. But whenever I let you get gay with me it was because I liked you, see?

5. (US drugs) to take drugs, to get intoxicated.

H. Ellson Duke 126: ‘Do you fellows want to get gay tonight?’ ‘Sure, you got dynamite?’ they said.