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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was a lark, but I think its up to us to gambol over there, clothed and in our right mindsand own up.

    Winona of the Camp Fire Margaret Widdemer
  • Mr. Heath, bring on your Chinese and let them gambol and frisk.

    The Readjustment Will Irwin
  • In earnest about everything, he must work out his liberty before he could gambol.

    There and Back George MacDonald
  • No one was in sight, and he was free to gambol as much as he pleased.

    A Chosen Few Frank R. Stockton
  • As they approached they were greeted by the barking of a dog, and a brown setter ran out to gambol about Adrian.

    The White Crystals Howard R. Garis
  • I liked a bit of a gambol when I was a winikin bit of a pisky maid myself.

    Furze the Cruel John Trevena
  • They gambol all their youth, live by the turf, the best of them are blacklegs, and they get fleeced at last.

    The Handbook of Conundrums Edith B. Ordway
  • "If you work as you gambol, I shouldn't think you'd be much in demand," laughed Judith.

    Thirty Howard Vincent O'Brien
  • For children are like lambs, I think; they also need to grow up in a green field, and to gambol there.

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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