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I would like to know what connotations the word "galore" carries for native English speakers. I really like the word and it's meaning and have seen it being used in some modern contexts. However, I'm afraid I might sound archaic or something, if I use it.

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    It always makes me think of Pussy Galore. But generally speaking the word simply means "a large amount", and while usually "positive", may be used with positive or negative connotations. My sense is that the word is falling out of favor vs it's use 50 years ago, but it's not "archaic". – Hot Licks Jan 15 '15 at 13:21
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    According to etymonline "galore" is Irish/Gaelic meaning enough, which explains its postposition. I think it belongs more to written, literary language, in spoken everyday language I think it would be a bit extraordinary, the normal variants being a lot of/ lots of/plenty of. – rogermue Jan 15 '15 at 14:42
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    @rogermue: I'd say quite the opposite. It's colloquial; I use it a lot when talking to my family, but I wouldn't use it in writing. – Nick Matteo Jan 15 '15 at 17:24
  • @Kundor - It was a guess of mine and sometimes my guesses are off the mark. – rogermue Jan 15 '15 at 18:56
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Galore means:-

  1. (immediately postpositive) in great numbers or quantity: there were daffodils galore in the park. [Collins Dictionary via the Free Dictionary.

It carries with it the idea that the plenty is a good or desirable thing; you could have whiskey galore or fireworks galore but it would sound very strange to complain about litter galore or dog turds galore in a park or playing field. It isn't archaic.

  • +1 According to etymonline it is from Irish 'go leor' meaning 'sufficient'. This agrees with the idea of it being a positive word - hard to think of a situation where you would have 'sufficient dog turds'. – Mynamite Jan 15 '15 at 11:46
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    @Mynamite Actually, go leor in Irish—meaning indeed ‘enough’ or ‘sufficient(ly)’—can be either positive or negative, depending on what it modifies. Och, tá sé fuar go leor inniu! for example means “Brrr, it’s cold enough today!” (understood: certainly doesn’t have to get any colder), while maith go leor just means ‘good enough’, just as in English. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 15 '15 at 11:55
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I didn't know that - but do you agree that when adopted into English it is usually (if not always) used in a positive way? – Mynamite Jan 15 '15 at 11:58
  • @JanusBahsJacquet as per my answer, I suspect the common use of ceart go leor among the Irish influenced the difference in meaning between go leor and galore. – Jon Hanna Jan 15 '15 at 11:59
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    That it must be immediately postpositives puts it in that odd category of noun modifiers that are not gradable. You cannot have fireworks more galore nor fireworks most galore. – tchrist Jan 15 '15 at 19:23
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Galore is a strange beast.

It must be allowed to be in two word-classes at once.

It is a quantifier, meaning 'many'. But it is unusual in that it comes after the noun (phrase) it modifies

There were pavilions galore spread out across the field.

But it also has attributive (in the sense of 'attributional') weight, with an indication (in its traditional sense) of splendour (pavilions) and / or gaiety (pavilions, whisky), and must therefore be reckoned as a peripheral adjective (modifying the overall situation rather than the noun). So it would not traditionally be used in place of (prenominal) many here:

There were many mutilated bodies lying around the battlefield.

*There were mutilated bodies galore lying around the battlefield.

[Mari-Lou A has pointed out that some (I'd call them perverse) usages, as in Tommy Cooper's ironic 'That's nice, that is!', are encountered in certain registers. Thus 'blood galore' in the latest Dracula film or shoot-em-up. Wicked.]

Most dictionaries give single word classes (they like things neat and tidy), but they don't agree on which fits best. In fact, some dictionaries still don't accept determiners (with subclasses quantifiers ...) as a separate class.

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    Your 2nd example seems to contradict the gaiety and splendour section in your answer. Perhaps a mention that "galore" can also be used for dramatic purposes. – Mari-Lou A Jan 15 '15 at 11:46
  • @Mari-Lou A The * before a sentence means that it is generally considered unacceptable (for whatever reason). – Edwin Ashworth Jan 15 '15 at 11:49
  • Ahh, apologies, I hadn't noticed that. Still I think I have seen the phrase: "blood galore" more than once. I wish I could check... – Mari-Lou A Jan 15 '15 at 11:53
  • No doubt there are perverse usages. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 15 '15 at 11:55
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    @Mari-LouA I would say that blood galore is most likely to be used in contexts where lots of blood is considered a good thing, like a teenager describing a new horror or slasher movie. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 15 '15 at 12:07
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It means "plenty" or "lots" with the connotation that the thing that is plentiful is a good thing.

It's from the Irish go leor. In Irish go leor means "enough", but it being often enough used to make its way into English is probably from ceart go leor which means "good enough"/"fine"/"okay" (ceart = "correct/proper/right/" go leor = "enough/sufficiently") and which is a phrase that even those Irish people who don't speak Irish, will recognise and use (to state assent, or in reply to Conas atá tú? or even to the English "How are you?").

While ceart go leor isn't used along with English anywhere outside of Ireland, it did mutate into galore. The original meaning of "enough/sufficient" explains why it is only used of good things.

However, I'm afraid I might sound archaic or something, if I use it.

It's far from archaic, plenty of people would use it today.

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The word 'galore" is an example of a postpositive adjective, which means it comes after the word it describes.

In some languages (such as French, Spanish, and Italian), this is the normal syntax.

Examples of a postpositive usage:

  • there were daffodils galore
  • they heard creatures unseen (rather than the more grammatically typical sentence "they heard unseen creatures")
  • You'll be able to win prizes galore.
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In terms of definition, I think the other answers are very thorough.

However, in terms of connotations, it makes one think that there is more than necessary of the thing being described, as opposed to simply 'lots'.

So whilst there is indeed a sufficient amount, there will likely be surplus.

Whilst it is true that in general it is used to describe good things, it can be used in a negative sense.

There was food galore upon the table.

This would throw up a context of gluttony, or more than could possibly be eaten.

  • This is pretty much how I read the word, "more than there is reason to be" - it can be something good or bad, but not neutral – Izkata Jan 15 '15 at 21:26
  • If you throw up there was probably gluttony. – Hot Licks Jan 15 '15 at 22:17
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    An abundance of comes to (my) mind. – Drew Jan 16 '15 at 2:37

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