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[gam-buh l] /ˈgæm bəl/
verb (used without object), gamboled, gamboling or (especially British) gambolled, gambolling.
to skip about, as in dancing or playing; frolic.
a skipping or frisking about; frolic.
Origin of gambol
1495-1505; earlier gambold, gambald, gamba(u)de < Middle French gambade; see gambade
Can be confused
gamble, gambol.
1. spring, caper, frisk, romp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gambol
  • The race's leaders let low-ranked riders gambol for the second successive day, and there was only a small change at the top.
  • Two tuneful gamblers gambol across the country in a struggle for the money they need to run their respective casinos.
  • They gambol and twitch, taking turns posing behind a colorfully framed, movable screen.
  • In winter, a few deer gambol through crunching snow from the surrounding forest, sniff then retreat.
  • It is practically the definition of a place where children should not gambol.
  • Where the graceful lambs played but now, unwieldy sea calves gambol.
  • He determined to revisit the scene of the last evening's gambol, and if he met with any of the party, to demand his dog and gun.
British Dictionary definitions for gambol


verb -bols, -bolling, -bolled (US) -bols, -boling, -boled
(intransitive) to skip or jump about in a playful manner; frolic
a playful antic; frolic
Word Origin
C16: from French gambade; see gambado², jamb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gambol

"frolic, merrymaking," 1590s, originally gambolde "a leap or spring" (c.1500), from Middle French gambade (15c.), from Late Latin gamba "horse's hock or leg," from Greek kampe "a bending" (on notion of "a joint"), from PIE *kamp- "to bend" (see campus).


1580s; earlier gambade (c.1500), from Middle French gambader, from gambade (see gambol (n.)). Related: Gamboled; gamboling; gambolling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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