March 6, 2008
The Appropriateness of Homosexual Versus Gay
The contradicting aspects of the words “gay” and “homosexual” are different in many
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.
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.”
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.
bright, lively, brilliant in color.
Three; given a social pleasure, licentious.
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
meaning carefree, happy, bright and
That meaning has carried over to today but is rarely used in this fashion.
hear it used in this context it is joking and usually used in the phrase “we will have a gay old