1. That gads or gads about; (in early use) that goes astray; wandering, roving; (now usually) that goes to many social events or travels to many places for pleasure; gallivanting.In quot. 1859: garrulous, gossiping; cf. gadabout adj.
1545 R. Ascham Toxophilus i. f. 13 Beche, Elder, Aspe, and Salowe, eyther for theyr wekenes or lyghtenesse, make holow, starting, studding, gaddynge shaftes.
1596 W. Warner Albions Eng. (rev. ed.) ix. lii. 236 Our gadding Thoughts conceite the Cloudes.
1625 Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 42 Envy is a Gadding Passion, and walketh the Streets, and doth not keepe home.
1699 B. E. New Dict. Canting Crew Gadding Gossips, way-going Women, Fidging and Fisking everywhere.
1728 H. Fielding Love in Several Masques iii. vii. 33 The Traps are no gadding Family, our Women stay at Home and do Business.
1829 T. Carlyle in Foreign Rev. Jan. 444 A gadding, feather-brained set of wantons.
1859 Tennyson Guinevere in Idylls of King 241 The good nuns would check her gadding tongue Full often.
1939 Washington Post 23 July 10/5 This is the twenty-first travel book to be written by the gadding Michigander.
2010 @mollyflatt 11 Nov. in twitter.com (O.E.D. Archive) I fear for my reputation as a gadding blonde about town.
2. Of a bovine animal: rushing or leaping about in a frenzied manner, because of excessive heat or (esp.) the presence of gadflies. Cf. gad v.1 3.
1604 M. Drayton Moyses i. 25 Scorching heat the gadding Heards do grieue.
1612 M. Drayton Poly-olbion xviii. 284 In Summer when the Fly doth prick the gadding Neate.
1737 Artless Muse 42 Gadding Herds, perplex'd with Flies and Heat, Dash'd thro' the Fords.
1793 J. Anketell Poems 196 The gadding cows move homewards slow.
1863 Preston Chron. 21 Nov. 3/2 The startled hare, the bleating lamb, the gadding cow.
1936 Manch. Guardian 24 Apr. 6/4 The fly increasing its speed to keep pace with the gadding heifer.
1980 F. Manolson & A. Fraser in K. Thear & A. Fraser Austral. & N.Z. Compl. Bk. Raising Livestock & Poultry (1981) vii. 187/2 Gadding cattle are liable to break fences and injure themselves.
2007 Irish Times 22 June 21/3 Richie..hopped around like a gadding cow.
3. Chiefly poet. Of a plant or part of a plant, esp. a vine: spreading, rambling, straggling. Cf. gad v.1 4.
1638 Milton Lycidas in Obsequies 21 in Justa Edouardo King With wild thyme and the gadding vine oregrown.
a1678 A. Marvell Misc. Poems (1681) 97 Curle me about ye gadding Vines.
1751 Love without Mask 7 The gadding musk and wild thyme creep.
1777 T. Warton Inscript. Hermitage iii. 24 Fantastic ivy's gadding spray.
1822 S. Rogers Poems (new ed.) 94 Soon through the gadding vine the sun looks in.
1873 J. A. Symonds Stud. Greek Poets x. 312 The stone walls..are..fragrant with gadding violets that ripple down their sides.
1943 Country Life 30 July 196/2 Festoons of gadding flowers.
1997 Australian (Nexis) 8 Oct. 18 Tender buds are springing on the gadding vines.
† gaddingly adv. Obsolete
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