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Gay is a term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual.
The term was originally used to mean "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy".
The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century.
In modern English, gay has come to be used as an adjective, and as a noun, referring to the people, especially to gay males, and the practices and cultures associated with homosexuality.
The use of gay to mean "homosexual" was in origin merely an extension of the word's sexualized connotation of "carefree and uninhibited", which implied a willingness to disregard conventional or respectable sexual mores. Mac Dermott's music hall song of the 1880s, "Charlie Dilke Upset the Milk" – "Master Dilke upset the milk/When taking it home to Chelsea;/ The papers say that Charlie's gay/Rather a wilful wag!
By the end of the 20th century, the word gay was recommended by major LGBT groups and style guides to describe people attracted to members of the same sex.At about the same time, a new, pejorative use became prevalent in some parts of the world.