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What does Gay mean?

Gay Pronunciation of Gay [gay] as a boys' name (also used as girls' name Gay) is of Old French origin, and the meaning of Gay is "blithe, cheerful". A surname in the Middle Ages. Taken from the vocabulary word, this was popular as a given name in the 1930s but became obsolete after the meaning of the word changed in the 1960s. It was generally used as a girl's name, but in Ireland it has been used as a pet form of Gabriel.

Related boy names: Gaylord and Gaynor.

Associated with: cheerful (happy), surname, popular (famous), ireland (gaelic).


8 different relations via Gabriel: Gab, Gabbi, Gabby, Gabe, Gabi, Gabie, Gabor and Gaby.

1 feminine form: Happy.

Creative forms:
(male) Gany, Gle, ..

(female) Gagi, Ge, ..

Middle name pairings:
Gay Gatlin (G.G.), ..

How popular is Gay?

Gay is an uncommon given name for males but a very popular surname for all people (#974 out of 150436, Top 1%). (2000 U.S. Census)

Gay reached its peak position of #989 in the U.S. in the 1890s, but is not ranked at the moment. (Top Baby Names, 2015)

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Gay name in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Gay outside U.S.

Which version is better?

with similar and related boy names. Prominent related forms of Gay are Gabe (#1734 the previous year), Gabriel (#22) and Gaylord. Other variants, like Gaby, are seldom used. Usage of these relations of Gay was more pronounced a decade ago (average #1434) and is almost as widespread today (#1439, 15.4%), but with the version Gaylord becoming less fashionable. Gabriel is the longstanding favorite.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Gay, Gabe, Gabriel, Gaylord in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Gabriel outside U.S.

Similar Names

Gay is alike in pronunciation to Gaill, Goyo and Guy. Other suggested similar names are Bay, Day, Fay, Gad, Gal, Gary, Gaz, Gray, Jay, Kay, Ray, Tay and Way. These names tend to be more frequently used than Gay.

See names
in meaning and etymology.