From the English word gay meaning "gay, happy". By the mid-20th century the word had acquired the additional meaning of "homosexual", and the name has subsequently dropped out of use. Gay originates in English language and means "full of joy". It can be used as both feminine and masculine given names, as well as a surname, the famous bearer being the English dramatist John Gay, author of The Beggar"s Opera. Gay is also the name of several places in the United States. In the 1950s it started being used as synonym for "homosexual" and since then its usage as a given name has declined.