Last name origins & meanings:
- English and French: nickname for a lighthearted or cheerful
person, from Middle English, Old French gai. In Middle English
the term could also mean ‘wanton’, ‘lascivious’ and this sense may lie
behind the surname in some instances.
- English (of Norman
origin): habitational name from places in Normandy called Gaye, from
an early proprietor bearing a Germanic personal name cognate with
- probably from the Catalan personal name
Gai (Latin Gaius), or in some cases a nickname from
Catalan gay ‘cheerful’.
- Variant of German Gau.
- North German: from a Frisian personal name Gay.
- A Congregational clergyman and one of the forerunners of the
Unitarian movement in New England, Ebenezer Gay (1696–1787) was born
in Dedham, MA, which had been founded by his grandfather, John Gay,
who came to America from Wiltshire, England, about 1630 and settled in
Watertown, MA. Ebenezer’s great-grandson Howard was editor of the
American Anti-Slavery Standard.
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