Gallop vs galop

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Gallop and galop are are two commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way when spoken aloud but are spelled differently and mean different things, which makes them homophones. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language, and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English.

Gallop is one of the natural gaits of a horse. In the gallop, all four hooves are off the ground at the same time during each stride. Other natural gaits of horses are the walk, the trot, the canter or lope. Any quadruped may be referred to as galloping. Gallop is also used figuratively to describe something that is picking up speed to the point of being out of control. Gallop is used as a noun or an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are gallops, galloped, galloping.

A galop is a lively country dance, popular after the turn of the nineteenth century in the major European capitals. The galop, short for galoppade, was introduced by the Duchesse de Berry. The galop is named for the gallop, the quick gait of a horse. The galop is a forerunner of the polka and the can-can.

Examples

How do you know when your democracy is no longer creeping slowly into fascism, but is heading there at a gallop? (The Mountain Democrat)

“I let him loosen up his muscles and then did a lap and a half with a light gallop on the training track,” said Kono via translator Sean Toriumi. (The Paulick Report)

Offenbach’s can-can, the Galop Infernal, was actually intended for a different dance (the galop), but its catchy melody and repetitive fast rhythms meant that it perfectly fitted the newly developing dance. (Country Life)

The girls’ solution is a dance-off, each sailor soloing in turn, to a galop, then a waltz, and finally a danzón. (The Boston Musical Intelligencer)

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