The Word For "Gay" According To 12 Languages

Etymology is a beautiful thing!

We know the word “gay”, which has been used to refer to homosexual men, also means “joyful” and “happy”. Ever wonder how other languages come up with their own words to describe gay men? Read on and be inspired.

1. German

The German word for gay, schwul, comes from the Low German word for “sultry, hot, and humid”. A gay man is called a Schwuler.

Schwul is also the Dutch word for gay.

2. French

The word “gay” (pronounced as GHEH) actually comes from the Old French word “gai”, which is most likely Germanic in origin. It translates to “joyful” and “carefree”.

“Gay” (pronounced as GHAI) is also used in Spanish-speaking countries.

3. Greek

Omofylófilos literally means “same-sex friend”. Gay men are called “ομοφυλόφιλους άνδρες” (omofylófilous ándres).

4. Arabic

The Arabic word for “gay”, which sounds like MITH-LEE, is derived from the root verb مثل (MAH-thala) meaning “to resemble”. It can be used for both male and female homosexuals.

5. Irish

The Irish word for “gay” literally means “airy” and “flighty”.

6. Tamil

“Nampi”, the Tamil word for “gay”, also means “dependent”. A much formal translation would be “ஓரின சேர்க்கை ஆண்” (O-rinuh ser-KHAIYAN, homosexual male).

7. Russian

Pronounced as GHEEH, Russian youths borrowed “gay” from English during the 1990s and it became more popular that its native “гомосексуалами” (gomoseksualami).

8. Korean

“Dongseong-aeja” is loaned from the Japanese word for gay, “同性愛者” (pronounced DOHH-sei-AI-shah, literally “a person with same-sex love”).

9. Welsh

The people of Wales use their native word for “cheerful”, pronounced as HOH-YOU, in reference to homosexual men.

10. Chinese

“Nahn-TOHNG-SHEENG-leeyuhn” is Chinese for “male homosexual”.

11. Filipino

The Filipino word for gay has an archaic usage. “Bacla” appeared in 18th century literary works under the context of “mental confusion” and “indecisiveness”. Filipino writers before World War II also used bacla, but defined as “fearful” or “weakened”.

12. Hungarian

Hungarians adapted their native word for “warm” to describe gay men.

On that note, be happy…

Clear your mind…

Walk like you’re flying…

And most importantly, stay warm…

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