Valiant VS gallant

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Valiant VS gallant

Post by nawee » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:48 pm

Hello,

What's the difference between "valiant" and "gallant"? They both mean 'brave' and I have heard both a "valiant knight" and "gallant knight". Do they mean exactly the same or are there subtle nuances?

Thank you.

N.
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Re: Valiant VS gallant

Post by trolley » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:03 pm

They can't always be used interchangeably, at least not in my book. "Valiant" can be just brave or stout-hearted, while "gallant" is brave or stout-hearted with sense of chivalry or honour. I'd be more inclined to refer to a knight as gallant. They followed a code that required them to act honourably. I think you can be valiant without being gallant but you can't be gallant without being valiant.
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Re: Valiant VS gallant

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:35 am

trolley wrote:I think you can be valiant without being gallant but you can't be gallant without being valiant.
Oh, I don't know... You can be trivially gallant without necessarily being valiant, like when opening the door for someone or performing some other minor act of courtesy.

In fact, I'd say that kind of situation is actually the most common context for the term 'gallant' in everyday usage, perhaps because acts of physical bravery and stout-heartedness are nowadays generally less necessary than they might have been before our societies became as heavily regulated and policed as they are today.
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Re: Valiant VS gallant

Post by tony h » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:59 pm

This is an interesting question. And not one for which I have yet managed to come to an answer.

Knowing there is a difference and being able to describe the difference are two very different things.

Both seem, to me, to have an element of the deed or characteristic being optional or selfless ie one can decide to do the thing that is gallant or valiant.

I have in mind, but not very securely, that a gallant act is done at the time (eg opening the door or charging the machine gun post) whereas an act that is valiant is something you do at a distance (George went off to slay the dragon, defending the road from the enemy whilst your comrades make a get away). But there are contrary examples: in sport " a valiant defence of their title" does not fit this. I don't think there could be "a gallant defence of their title".

I wondered whether the award of medals shed some light on this. I looked up a few and those are all awarded for gallantry. Therefore I am not sure why the 2003 film is titled The Victoria Cross : for Valour http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407290/

Anyway I shall probably return to this when I have thought some more.
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

End of topic.
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