kind of large ship, 1520s, from French galion "armed ship of burden," and directly from Spanish galeón "galleon, armed merchant ship," augmentative of galea, from Byzantine Greek galea "galley" (see galley) + augmentative suffix -on. Developed 15c.-16c., it was shorter, broader, and with a higher stern superstructure than the galley. In English use, especially of Spanish royal treasure-ships or the government warships that escorted private merchant ships in the South American trade.
GALLEON. The accepted term for the type of ship which the Spaniards used in 1588; that is, an armed merchantman of exceptional quality, combining the strength of the mediaeval trader with some of the finer lines and fighting features of the GALLEY. [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages," 1943]
Italian agumented form of galea, galeaza, led to a different 16c. ship-name in English, galliass (1540s).
mid-15c., "covered walk or passageway, narrow and partly open passageway along a wall," from Old French galerie "a long portico" (14c.), from Medieval Latin galeria, of unknown origin. Perhaps an alteration of galilea "church porch," which is probably from Latin Galilaea "Galilee," the northernmost region of Palestine (see Galilee); church porches sometimes were so called, perhaps from being at the far end of the church:
Super altare Beatæ Mariæ in occidentali porte ejusdem ecclesiæ quæ Galilæ a vocatur. [c.1186 charter in "Durham Cathedral"]
Sense of "building to house art" first recorded 1590s. In reference to theaters, of the section with the highest, cheapest seats; hence "people who occupy a (theater) gallery" (contrasted with "gentlemen of the pit") first by Lovelace, 1640s, hence to play to the gallery (1867).