or gal·a·vant

[gal-uh-vant, gal-uh-vant]

Origin of gallivant

First recorded in 1815–25; perhaps fanciful alteration of gallant
Related formsgal·li·vant·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gallivanting

traipse, ramble, stray, cruise, range, jaunt, rove, roam, meander, wander, mooch

Examples from the Web for gallivanting

Contemporary Examples of gallivanting

  • After years of gallivanting around town, his social life began to pale.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Man Who Created Disco Beauty

    Isabel Wilkinson

    March 31, 2010

  • I married the daughter of a former Methodist minister and spent the past year gallivanting through 52 different churches.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Jesus Made Me a Better Jew

    Benyamin Cohen

    December 24, 2008

  • He left me for “business reasons,” though the business had mainly to do with gallivanting with other women in England.

    The Daily Beast logo
    I Helped Save Claus von Bulow

    Andrea Reynolds

    December 9, 2008

Historical Examples of gallivanting

  • He has too many serious affairs of life in hand to be in the humour for gallivanting.

    John Splendid

    Neil Munro

  • I will have no gallivanting, no cozening and smiling and prating and distracting.

    Desert Dust

    Edwin L. Sabin

  • She refuses, thinking he has been gallivanting with some other lady.

  • He's been gallivanting again after that ill-bred Miss Catfish.

    Two in a Zoo

    Curtis Dunham

  • Surely she must be gallivanting with that young sergeant of engineers.


    Armando Palacio Valds

British Dictionary definitions for gallivanting


galivant or galavant

  1. (intr) to go about in search of pleasure; gad about

Word Origin for gallivant

C19: perhaps whimsical modification of gallant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gallivanting



1809, probably a playful elaboration of gallant in an obsolete verbal sense of "play the gallant, flirt, gad about." Related: Gallivanted; gallivanting.

Young Lobski said to his ugly wife,
"I'm off till to-morrow to fish, my life;"
Says Mrs. Lobski, "I'm sure you a'nt",
But you brute you are going to gallivant."

What Mrs. Lobski said was right,
Gay Mr. Lobski was out all night.
He ne'er went to fish, 'tis known very well
But where he went I shall not tell.

["Songs from the Exile," in "Literary Panorama," London, 1809]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper