in Wacky Word Wednesday

Wacky Word Wednesday – Gadabout

Today’s Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of the wackiest and most interesting words from around the world, describes a person who craves high levels of social stimulation and lives on the spur of the moment.

quo topGadabout [GAD-uh-bout]nounA person who goes from place to place in social activity.quo botGadabout

A day in the life of a gadabout could look like this: she enjoys her morning coffee in Versailles, then strolls up the narrow streets of Paris in the afternoon, saying hello to passersby; next up, she hops on a London-bound train to meet up with some friends and hang out till nightfall.

Gadabout came from the phrase “to gad about,” which means to visit a lot of different places, enjoying oneself and not worrying about responsibilities. First used in 1837, gadabout refers to someone who goes from place to place in search of amusement or social companionship.

In today’s society, a gadabout could also be referred to as a rambler—often very outgoing, dynamic, and charismatic and usually not belonging to any particular group. But other than being seemingly carefree, a gadabout can also be seen as a busybody, someone who likes to chat idly and spread rumors.  The following example shows gadabout being used as a synonym for gossip: “I heard from the town gadabout, Miles Overland, that Willy Leaver isn’t speaking to his wife.”

To understand the word in a less cynical setting, here are a couple of sentence examples:

  • She hugged him fiercely. “Oh, I love you, Jake Grafton, you worthless gadabout fly-boy, you fool that sails away and leaves me.” (Jack Anderson, Control)
  • When you’re a gadabout like Liz, who knows just about everyone, you have no problem getting invited to all of the best parties. (Merriam-Webster)

Gadabouts are often regarded as irresponsible or shallow, but their energetic personality is probably more of a blessing than a curse. Researchers at Brigham Young University found that having strong social relationships can raise survival odds by 50 percent. So if you’re too reclusive, you can take a few baby steps by inviting a friend to lunch or joining an interest group. It may bring you the longevity of life we all wish for.

We hope you enjoyed today’s Wacky Word Wednesday. We hope to see you time!



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  1. Wonder if a person who hops every now and then in social media uploading random posts and making out-of-the blue comments can be considered as a gadabout? Still, without them, news (although tarnished from their side of the fence) will not be spreading, and isolation can be a common thing.

    • Hi All Graduates,
      Traditionally gadabouts have been primarily concerned with face-to-face social stimulation but I suppose in the modern world we need a new word. How about “techno-gadabout?”
      Thanks for your comments and keep reading!
      T for Translation