Essay3.B - Elliott Saunders Essay 3.B March 6 2008 The...

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Elliott Saunders Essay 3.B March 6, 2008 The Appropriateness of Homosexual Versus Gay The contradicting aspects of the words “gay” and “homosexual” are different in many ways. From facts such as the literal definitions of the words and the history that has accompanied the words within their existence, to the emotions and stereotypes that the words carry along with them, that society has either altered or perceived them to be. “Homosexual” and “gay” are vastly different words because of how society has shaped them. The definition of the word “homosexual” is considerably easier to define because it only has one meaning. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines homosexual as, “of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex.” There are not many contexts in which the words can be used and it only has a singular meaning, which leaves for very little misinterpretation of the word. “Gay” on the hand has multiple meanings, some of which are slang. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “gay” four different ways. “One; happy, excited, marry, keenly alive or exuberant: having or inducing high spirits. Two; bright, lively, brilliant in color. Three; given a social pleasure, licentious. And four; homosexual, of, relating to, or used by homosexuals.” Now, even though the definition of “gay” does include homosexual, the other meanings trump that to the point it has little bearing to do with the word. The slang definition of the word is obviously much looser and not completely accurate because slang definitions can derive from anywhere. The general slang definition for “gay” is, a generic insult, it can mean bad, stupid, whatever you want it to mean. The term “gay” is derived from old French gai meaning carefree, happy, bright and showy. That meaning has carried over to today but is rarely used in this fashion. Whenever I hear it used in this context it is joking and usually used in the phrase “we will have a gay old 1
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time”, which is antiquated English. “Gay” started having sexual connotations in the late 17 th century, meaning addicted to pleasure and dissipation. Nowadays “gay” is accepted to mean homosexual within dictionaries and society, but it did not start gaining that connotation until the
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Essay3.B - Elliott Saunders Essay 3.B March 6 2008 The...

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