Definition of gallantry in English:



  • 1Courageous behaviour, especially in battle.

    ‘a medal awarded for outstanding gallantry during the raid’
    • ‘They are the highest form of award for gallantry awarded by the British Crown.’
    • ‘His decorations included the U.S. Legion of Merit, as well as several British and French awards for gallantry.’
    • ‘The George Cross is second only to the Victoria Cross and is the highest civilian award for gallantry, recognising that the recipient has put their life in extreme danger for the sake of others.’
    • ‘The scheme acts as a form of recognition or the making of a statement honouring marine meritorious service or outstanding marine gallantry or achievement for search and rescue.’
    • ‘As with the Irish-born in 1871 several of the twenty-nine won medals for outstanding gallantry.’
    • ‘On top of the flag, along with his other medals, lay the DSC he was awarded for gallantry and devotion as a fighter pilot who so nearly lost his life fighting for this country.’
    • ‘The George Cross - this country's highest civilian award for gallantry - would be an imaginative people-to-people choice.’
    • ‘Users can therefore search for medal awards (mainly gallantry and meritorious service awards), army and navy commissions, promotions, the naturalisation of an ancestor and much more during this crucial period in history.’
    • ‘Today the structures defy time to tell the story of gallantry, courage and tragedy of the bygone era and its story of survival in the harsh Thar Dessert.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love…’
    • ‘He received a Medal of Honor for gallantry at the Battle of the Wilderness despite subsequent controversial administration of the Elmira, New York, prison camp.’
    • ‘No unit of the United States Army has ever exceeded the First Minnesota for gallantry and courage.’
    • ‘His officer received the Military Cross, a lower order than the VC that's given to officers who display gallantry in battle.’
    • ‘The naval officer did receive a posthumous George Cross for the operation, but due to secrecy he could not receive the United Kingdom's highest award for gallantry.’
    • ‘The OBE is not an award for gallantry, but given for exceptionally meritorious service. His citation for this has nothing whatever to do with his civil driving record, nor what the judge may have said before sentencing.’
    • ‘Thus Morgan had the unique pleasure of presenting Italy's highest award for gallantry to the brave man who tried to sink his ship three years and three months before.’
    • ‘The Victoria Cross was subsequently awarded for his outstanding gallantry.’
    • ‘By the mid-18th century a distinction was being drawn between awards for individual acts of gallantry and those for distinguished service in a battle or campaign.’
    • ‘In his book, he takes a platoon through a year of battle in the jungle undergrowth, cowardice, heroism, gallantry and the white feather.’
    • ‘Old-fashioned words like courage, gallantry, and honor are the only ones that can be used to describe and explain the combat wartime performance of the Argentine air force and naval air personnel.’
    bravery, braveness, courage, courageousness, valour, pluck, pluckiness, nerve, daring, boldness, fearlessness, dauntlessness, intrepidity, intrepidness, manliness, heroism, doughtiness, stout-heartedness, backbone, spine, spirit, spiritedness, mettle, determination, fortitude
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  • 2Polite attention or respect given by men to women.

    ‘no young man offers to carry this burden for her: such gallantry is out of fashion’
    • ‘This is how it should be, for its subject could also be reasonably designated a light confection, albeit of quite exceptionally distinctive intelligence, oratorical power and studied chivalric gallantry.’
    • ‘She became the virtuous focus of masculine desire, the unmoved mover who stirred her subjects to acts of gallantry and heroism.’
    • ‘The Rebel army won many early battles in the cause of making sure that Southern gallantry, plantation life and refined manners rolled over the backs of Negro slaves like planks on the social and economic bridges that connected the regime.’
    • ‘In his treatment of the sexual undertones of courtly love and seventeenth-century gallantry, Maidment's wicked sense of humour could reduce a tutorial to helpless laughter.’
    • ‘And I was embarrassed by him, too young for his shy approaches, too unused to such respectful gallantry.’
    • ‘Poets and wandering minstrels to a remarkably open and tolerant society, they wrote of freedom and justice and gallantry and of a kind of courtly love that was entirely new to literature.’
    • ‘At least he had enough manners and gallantry to perform that small action.’
    • ‘These works are considered as icons of amorous pursuits in an age of gallantry and the accompanying and complementary coquetry.’
    chivalry, chivalrousness, gentlemanliness, courtliness, graciousness, respectfulness, respect, courtesy, courteousness, politeness, good manners, mannerliness, attentiveness, consideration, considerateness, thoughtfulness
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    1. 2.1[count noun]Gallant actions or words.
      ‘I courted her with all the genteel gallantries of a minstrel’
      • ‘She interpreted the rose as nothing more than one of the playful gallantries he used with her friends.’
      • ‘‘But, Sir, this lady does not want that the contract should be dissolved; she only argues that she may indulge herself in gallantries with equal freedom as her husband does, provided she takes care not to introduce a spurious issue into his family.’’
      • ‘As Lady St. Edmunds was no restraint upon me, her presence in our coterie was rather advantageous to Lord Frederick, banishing the reserve of a tete-a-tete, and allowing him constantly to offer gallantries too indirect to provoke repulse, yet too pointed to be overlooked.’
      • ‘Katya wants to be all business, a blank-faced pro, but she can't help but respond to Barley's wry gallantries.’
      • ‘In the Age of Reason and Science, gambling and gallantries, of pleasure and entertainment, Casanova has it all, does it all.’
      • ‘He who exposed the gallantries of a Lady of Quality, or the faults and foibles of a Patrician, was, forsooth, deemed to bear hostile purposes against the Commonwealth: for this is the construction of Treason by the Lawyers.’
      • ‘After this brilliant success Etherege retired from literature; his gallantries and his gambling in a few years deprived him of his fortune, and he looked about for a rich wife.’
      • ‘But Jean-Michel's gallantries were a welcome antidote to plaster dust and grisly discoveries about underground pipes.’
      • ‘Infirimities of nature we are all subject to, and therefore I have sent master Pompey to wait upon miss Veny, begging the favour of you to return him as soon as his gallantries are over.’
      • ‘The flame was glorious - radiant with the colours of antique knighthood and the flashing gallantries of the past; but no substance fed it; flaring wildly, it tossed to and fro in the wind; it was suddenly put out.’
      • ‘This makes for a well-rounded graduate student capable of effectively assuming a role in a field of their choosing, wary of both the gallantries and pitfalls potentially ahead of them.’
      • ‘The world rang with stories of his romantic bravery, his gallantries, his eccentric manners, and his political intrigues, for he nearly contrived to be elected King of Poland.’
      • ‘Every day saw him engaged in cultivating a taste for literature and art, and some moments of every day were set apart for social gallantries.’
      • ‘It was to that place he began to attract the world by fêtes and gallantries, and by making it felt that he wished to be often seen.’
      • ‘It is quite clear in the above exchange about Mr Woodhouse's gallantries that she knows she is galling Emma: she wants to gall her rival and does it with malicious and practised expertise.’
      • ‘Agent Donat arrives by parachute, spends a few minutes disguised as a Rumanian peasant, then transforms himself into Tartu, a Rumanian Iron Guardist, reeking with pomade, corny gallantries and devotion to the New Order.’
      • ‘‘Indeed, Jack,’ said Jones, ‘you wilfully misunderstand me; I do not fancy women are so apt to fall in love; but you have gone far beyond common gallantries.’’
      • ‘Iago himself is opposed to the gallantries and polite talk of Cassio, especially in regard to Desdemona.’
    2. 2.2archaic Sexual intrigue.
      ‘what men call gallantry, and the gods adultery’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘splendour, ornamentation’): from French galanterie, from galant (see gallant).