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gala

[gey-luh, gal-uh; especially British gah-luh] /ˈgeɪ lə, ˈgæl ə; especially British ˈgɑ lə/
adjective
1.
festive; festal; showy:
Her birthday parties were always gala occasions.
noun
2.
a festive occasion; celebration; special entertainment:
a gala featuring opera stars in their most famous scenes.
3.
festal pomp or dress.
Origin of gala
1615-1625
1615-25; < French < Italian < Old French; see gallant
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for gala
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thus far their expedition had been like the jaunt of a gala day.

    The Empire of Russia John S. C. Abbott
  • But a wedding was an excuse for a gala party at which the couple were the center of attention.

    The Highest Treason Randall Garrett
  • At five o'clock, every one was in gala costume, and they reached the Louvre at seven in the evening.

  • Our set are having a gala night of it, and must be musical as the frogs of Beauport by this hour!

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • On the third day, they again sing and dance, and dress themselves in gala attire.

British Dictionary definitions for gala

gala

/ˈɡɑːlə; ˈɡeɪlə/
noun
1.
  1. a celebration; festive occasion
  2. (as modifier): a gala occasion
2.
(mainly Brit) a sporting occasion involving competitions in several events: a swimming gala
Word Origin
C17: from French or Italian, from Old French gale pleasure, from Old French galer to make merry, probably of Germanic origin; compare 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
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Word Origin and History for gala
n.

1620s, "festive dress or attire," from French en gala, perhaps from Old French gale "merriment," from galer "rejoice, make merry" (see gallant). Klein suggests the French word is from Italian gala (as in phrase vestito di gala "robe of state"), perhaps from Arabic khil'a "fine garment given as a presentation." Sense of "festive occasion" (characterized by display of finery) first recorded 1777.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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