gam·​bol | \ˈgam-bəl \
gamboled or gambolled; gamboling or gambolling\ ˈgam-​bə-​liŋ also  -​bliŋ \

Definition of gambol 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to skip about in play : frisk, frolic



Definition of gambol (Entry 2 of 2)

: a skipping or leaping about in play

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for gambol

Synonyms: Verb

caper, cavort, disport, frisk, frolic, lark, rollick, romp, sport

Synonyms: Noun

binge, fling, frisk, frolic, idyll (also idyl), lark, ploy, revel, rollick, romp, spree

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?


In Middle French, the noun "gambade" referred to the frisky spring of a jumping horse. In the early 1500s, the English word gambol romped into print as both a verb and a noun. (The noun means "a skipping or leaping about in play.") The English word is not restricted to horses, but rather can be used of any frolicsome creature. It is a word that suggests levity and spontaneity, and it tends to be used especially of the lively activity of children or animals engaged in active play.

Examples of gambol in a Sentence


lambs gamboling in the meadow dog owners chat while their pooches gambol on the park's great lawn


she and her old college roommate headed off for one final European gambol before returning to the States to start their separate careers
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That southeast corner of routes 22 and 59 saw Light's herd of horses and their foals gamboling in the pastures. Barbara Benson,, "Column: Horses continue to make history in Barrington area," 5 July 2018 Thanks to a reintroduction program, this horse is now found on the steppes of Central Asia, and up to 300 horses gambol around in Mongolia. Ralph Steadman, Discover Magazine, "Where the Wild Things Aren't," 1 Mar. 2018 Once the legislature got a look and all the devils that are gamboling through the details of the deal, somebody threw the emergency braking system and the whole legislature screeched to a halt. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "Human Bowling Jacket Paul LePage Equates Confederate Statues with 9/11 Monuments," 17 Aug. 2017 Or a surreal snow globe, with dinosaurs and flamingos gamboling next to the Tour Eiffel? Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Merci’s Summer Pop-Up Is Your Source for Quirky Paris Keepsakes," 13 July 2017 Each episode — burbling freshets, dancing peasants, water sprites gamboling in moonlit waters, a torrent tumbling over the St. John's Rapids – was firmly drawn and smoothly tied together. John Von Rhein,, "Jakub Hrusa scores strong CSO debut with vital account of Czech symphonic cycle," 19 May 2017 Tudor Nights: Derby Bight Sip, snack and savor artifacts and stories of a time when wealthy bettors gamboled and hooves pounded the streets of Washington. Washington Post, "Community and cultural events in the District, May 4-11, 2017," 3 May 2017 But for those in attendance for the launch event that watched as their pets gamboled over greenery seemed undeterred by the idea of a fee. Elizabeth Roberts,, "Dog park moves toward paid memberships," 28 Apr. 2017 Now the view from the Leaman home and gardens includes fluffy lambs gamboling about in the open pastures high above Penn Cove. Valerie Easton, The Seattle Times, "Meandering gardens and a flock of sheep are part of the charm at this Whidbey Island farm," 12 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Underneath, a river otter gambols on a rocky beach. Lynn Jacobson, The Seattle Times, "Paddle a kayak from Fort Worden for a waterside tour of Port Townsend," 23 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gambol.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gambol


1508, in the meaning defined above


circa 1510, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gambol


in part verbal derivative of gambol entry 2, in part borrowing (assimilated to the noun) from Middle French gambader, verbal derivative of gambade


earlier "leap of a horse, leap, caper," probably apocopated variant of gambold, gambald, re-formation (by association with French-derived words, as ribald entry 2, ending in the suffix -aud, -auld) of gambade, borrowed from Middle French, probably borrowed from Occitan cambado, gambado, from camba "leg" (going back to Late Latin camba, gamba) + -ado -ade — more at jamb

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gambol

Listen to Our Podcast about gambol

Dictionary Entries near gambol



gambo hemp



gambrel roof


Statistics for gambol

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gambol

The first known use of gambol was in 1508

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gambol



English Language Learners Definition of gambol

: to run or jump in a lively way


gam·​bol | \ˈgam-bəl \
gamboled or gambolled; gamboling or gambolling

Kids Definition of gambol

: to run or play happily : frolic Children gamboled on the lawn.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on gambol

What made you want to look up gambol? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!