Definition of gallant in US English:



  • 1(of a person or their behavior) brave; heroic.

    ‘she had made gallant efforts to pull herself together’
    • ‘Championed by one of China's leading directors, it ran for a month and was enthusiastically received by all but the traditionalists who believed a play is not a play without a gallant hero completing some epic task.’
    • ‘On the pitch two gallant teams went at it hammer and tongs while off it, their passionate supporters kept up an incessant cacophony, which will not, I'll warrant, be equalled at the county final.’
    • ‘And more than a few nominations involved gallant losers.’
    • ‘He was also very proud of the 1st April 1989 encounter, saying: ‘for the last time my gallant fighters defeated the enemy’.’
    • ‘Still, I don't want to say a bad word about the gallant folk from the police service.’
    • ‘For this gallant lady, the future would not be altered with simply a healthy diet.’
    • ‘I have never met a Christian who followed the parable of the Good Samaritan so literally as this gallant officer.’
    • ‘This was a game we should have won and the gallant loser badge doesn't lessen the pain.’
    • ‘Congratulations to those gallant ladies who participated in the South Armagh Women's Group Sit-Out last Friday night proceeds in Aid of Newry Hospice.’
    • ‘And our two gallant leaders, both of whom claim to be Christians, seem to have missed the point of the parable of the good Samaritan.’
    • ‘And in any case, our gallant troops will now be fully occupied in cleaning up the neighbourhood.’
    • ‘The life of this wrecked if gallant woman has become, not the cautionary tale it was in 1970, but an achievement to applaud.’
    • ‘I was just getting ready to ask if I could join their gallant team, when the two remaining climbers showed up.’
    • ‘Here he once again proved that he was a brave and gallant soldier.’
    • ‘The total figure raised by these gallant ladies on their Sit Out Night in aid of Newry Hospice in December amounted to £2,700 and 1,700 euro.’
    • ‘There was very little separating the players on the day, but it was young Larry who took the honours from a gallant loser Joe.’
    • ‘Six and a half years into his premiership, after seven Queen's speeches, umpteen reshuffles and relaunches, the New Labour Dreadnought is listing, its gallant captain beginning to look his 50 years.’
    • ‘While in the beginning the celebration may well indeed be about honouring the lives of the 30 gallant heroes that died on national duty, it may as well hit another highway in due course.’
    • ‘And I want the public to know, the national media to know that they have not been given the names of the gallant volunteers.’
    • ‘Just when a draw seemed inevitable a break upfield saw the ball fall to Collingwood and he kept his cool under pressure to send over the winning points to give his side a win they just about deserved over gallant opponents.’
    brave, courageous, valiant, valorous, bold, plucky, daring, fearless, intrepid, heroic, lionhearted, stout-hearted, doughty, mettlesome, great-spirited
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    1. 1.1archaic Grand; fine.
      ‘they made a gallant array as they marched off’
      • ‘The room was very gallant with pale yellow walls and a pink ceiling.’
  • 2(of a man or his behavior) giving special attention and respect to women; chivalrous.

    • ‘He wondered how long he would have to continue playing gallant knight to these insipid, wilting females.’
    • ‘The first Crusader army formed in a gallant, chivalric manner, as a by-product of a tournament help in Champagne in November 1199.’
    • ‘Then, you become even more gallant and chivalrous in order to appease them before they revolt.’
    • ‘Before the time of greedy kings, gallant knights, and courtly love, there was a time when woodland creatures still roamed the earth.’
    • ‘She'd be surprised if he hadn't any, considering his more than handsome face and his gallant manners, however well the latter may be hidden to Em.’
    • ‘Miles addresses his governess as ‘my dear’ and treats her with the gallant manner of a beau, not a child.’
    • ‘Otherwise she would have known that I was neither gallant nor gentlemanly.’
    • ‘It is not probable that she consciously deliberates; but she is… attracted by the most beautiful, or melodious, or gallant males.’
    • ‘Charles sighed in relief, and kissed Catherine in the most charming and gallant manner.’
    • ‘Though I'd like to think this gallant display was reserved especially for moi, it seems they give everybody the special treatment.’
    • ‘Some strange man, gallant and handsome, was tucking her into bed, with the help of another person, apparently female.’
    • ‘But like many old-fashioned men, he takes a rather gallant approach to the women in his family.’
    • ‘They tell tales ranging from courtly romances full of gallant knights and maidens-in-distress to rude fabliaux telling of the perils of drink, fighting and lust!’
    • ‘A tour of the Hermitage today includes the thrilling rags-to-riches story of a gallant frontiersman, chivalrous romantic, and political reformer.’
    • ‘Maybe you know the guy that says, with a gallant gleam in his eye, ‘I think women's pro basketball is just a fine sport.’’
    • ‘Henry was in his twenties, was handsome and gallant and well-trained in the ways of chivalry.’
    • ‘But it was so gallant of him and showed me some kindness in him where I'd never seen it that I let him without protest.’
    • ‘Pisces men are often seen as gallant (opening doors, and offering a hand) and both sexes can be self-sacrificing often putting the needs of their lover ahead of their own.’
    • ‘Automatically Greg takes her hand, like the good gallant man he is, and draws her nearer as Jem walks stiffly away.’
    • ‘Hollander was reported as describing Bulgarian men as gallant, caring, and somehow mysterious.’
    chivalrous, gentlemanly, courtly, courteous, respectful, polite, attentive, gracious, considerate, thoughtful, obliging
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  • 1A man who pays special attention to women.

    • ‘In the past, great love affairs often began with the judicious dropping of a glove and its recovery by a charming gallant.’
    • ‘The games of love involve Florinda, who is destined to marry an old rich man or her brother's friend, and Belville, a young gallant who rescues her and wins her heart.’
    suitor, wooer, admirer, worshipper
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    1. 1.1 A dashing man of fashion; a fine gentleman.
      • ‘This was too much for three young gallants, themselves suitors of the young lady.’
      • ‘Matthew Paris insisted that she and her husband were vicious and adulterous and that John threatened to hang her gallants over her bed.’
      • ‘The boy, though, was an accessory the gallant could ill afford.’
      • ‘There must be routs and balls beneath sparkling chandeliers, where young gallants whirl sloe-eyed, bare-shouldered girls in the schottische and the carmagnole.’
      • ‘You should be dancing with gallants, not hiding in a corner!’
      • ‘She had always considered Adam's youngest brother a carefree gallant.’
      • ‘Sadly these were in fact few, with the Oxford gallants ' ambitions tempered by the 11.30 pm departure of their coach from the post-match nightclub, meaning that ‘good chat’ was all that was gained from the occasion.’
      • ‘His house is resorted to by his brother-in-law Wellbred with a crowd of riotous but harmless gallants, and these he suspects of designs both on his wife and on his sister Bridget.’
      • ‘Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate.’
      • ‘The play scoffs at citizens like Gertrude who marry above their station; at wannabe gallants like Quicksilver the apprentice; and at ‘false’ gentlemen such as the new-made knight Sir Petronel Flash.’
      • ‘Sooner the earth will swallow down a few of those young gallants who eat you out of house and home these days!’
      • ‘Accordingly, as a gloss on the whole affair, the young gallant dispiritedly notes ‘Tricks are repaid’.’
      • ‘If these markings imply that readers were not all young town gallants ensconced in taverns or on the fringes of court, being lascivious, witty, and drunk, so does the tantalizing case of Leonard Wheatcroft.’
      fine gentleman, man about town, man of fashion, dandy, fop, beau, cavalier, swashbuckler
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[with object]archaic
  • (of a man) flirt with (a woman).

    • ‘I teach young gentlemen the whole art of gallanting a fan.’
    • ‘They have shot, fished, golfed and gallanted together.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘finely dressed’): from Old French galant, from galer ‘have fun, make a show’, from gale ‘pleasure, rejoicing’.