- festive; festal; showy: Her birthday parties were always gala occasions.
- a festive occasion; celebration; special entertainment: a gala featuring opera stars in their most famous scenes.
- festal pomp or dress.
- a celebration; festive occasion
- (as modifier)a gala occasion
- mainly British a sporting occasion involving competitions in several eventsa swimming gala
1620s, “festive dress or attire,” from French en gala, perhaps from Old French gale “merriment,” from galer “rejoice, make merry” (see gallant). Klein suggests the French word is from Italian gala (as in phrase vestito di gala “robe of state”), perhaps from Arabic khil’a “fine garment given as a presentation.” Sense of “festive occasion” (characterized by display of finery) first recorded 1777.