Sean_85 saidOver time it will phase out as people see how awful it actually is.
My mom told me that when she was a teenager they had a colour called (N word) brown.. She use to wear (N word) brown dress pants..
That is no longer the case as that word is not acceptable.. I'm sure something similar will happen with people using the word gay out of context..
But.... Gay did use to mean happy. listen to old songs from the war era or old movies and the word is used with no ties to homosexulaity.
I do feel old when someone is concerned that people won't believe him when he says that gay
used to mean happy.
During the "war era" (I'm guessing you mean World War II), the word was already fairly widely used as a synonym for homosexual,
though the general public probably didn't become aware of that meaning till the 1960s.
One famous example is in the great 1938 screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby,
with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and May Robson (in this scene):
Grant may have improvised the line as it's not in the shooting script. On the film's initial release, most contemporary viewers probably didn't get the double meaning, but we can be pretty sure Grant did.
This may also be of interest: a usage note from the American Heritage Dictionary
(which I copied from www.dictionary.com):
OED gives 1951 as earliest date for slang meaning "homosexual" (adj.), but this is certainly too late; gey cat "homosexual boy" is attested in N. Erskine's 1933 dictionary of "Underworld & Prison Slang;" the term gey cat (gey is a Scot. variant of gay) was used as far back as 1893 in Amer.Eng. for "young hobo," one who is new on the road and usually in the company of an older tramp, with catamite connotations. But Josiah Flynt ["Tramping With Tramps," 1905] defines gay cat as, "An amateur tramp who works when his begging courage fails him." Gey cats also were said to be tramps who offered sexual services to women. The "Dictionary of American Slang" reports that gay (adj.) was used by homosexuals, among themselves, in this sense since at least 1920. Rawson ["Wicked Words"] notes a male prostitute using gay in reference to male homosexuals (but also to female prostitutes) in London's notorious Cleveland Street Scandal of 1889. Ayto ["20th Century Words"] calls attention to the ambiguous use of the word in the 1868 song "The Gay Young Clerk in the Dry Goods Store," by U.S. female impersonator Will S. Hays. The word gay in the 1890s had an overall tinge of promiscuity -- a gay house was a brothel. The suggestion of immorality in the word can be traced back to 1637. Gay as a noun meaning "a (usually male) homosexual" is attested from 1971.
That final sentence is a bit strange since by 1971 the word was very
commonly used as slang for homosexual.
It had been used in print many times before then, including in the tremendously popular play The Boys in the Band
Sorry for being so pedantic, but that's my curse. Well, one
of my curses.