Gigolo

Meaning

What does Gigolo mean?

Gigolo is a popular slang expression for a man of many partners, the dream of a Plain Jane, often blessed with the benevolence and generosity of a Sugar Mama, however constantly running the risk of a Shotgun Wedding.

Simply put, a “Gigolo” is either a seducer or a male prostitute.

Origin

What's the origin of Gigolo?

The etymology of the word is not clear, although despite its pronunciation reminiscent of the Italian language, it is certainly not of Italian origin.

“Gigolo” is a derivative of the French word “Gigole” used for dancers, prostitutes and tall, thin women alike, however, even that goes back in history, as the Middle English word “Giglot” referred to a Floozy, a lewd girl.

Ultimately, the term in its current form was adopted from French during the early 20th century, although it seems, it has been used and forgotten in the Middle Ages already.

“Gigolo” first appeared in Albert Barrère’s “Argot and Slang, A New French and English Dictionary”, published in 1889.

Spread & Usage

How did Gigolo spread?

“Gigolo” became a popular slang term of the prohibition era, with its prevalence shooting up during the 1920’s, appearing in novels, magazines, as well as the 1926 movie “Gigolo”.

Over the decades, the phenomenon has been explored by a plethora of cultural works, ranging from books, to songs, to the 1999 comedy flick of Rob Schneider “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo”.

The term was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2003, with a lot of entries following in the subsequent years.

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