gam·​bol | \ ˈgam-bəl How to pronounce gambol (audio) \
gamboled or gambolled; gamboling or gambolling\ ˈgam-​bə-​liŋ How to pronounce gambolling (audio) 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

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Synonyms for gambol

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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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

Verb lambs gamboling in the meadow dog owners chat while their pooches gambol on the park's great lawn Noun she and her old college roommate headed off for one final European gambol before returning to the States to start their separate careers
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What’s left is a shimmering sensibility that gambols freely in a new age. Matt Cooper, Los Angeles Times, "Theater in L.A. this week: Mike Birbiglia, ‘Department of Dreams’ and more," 16 Oct. 2019 But for the launch of two works by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone, guests gamboled across Fort Mason’s Great Meadow. Catherine Bigelow,, "Storied architect Art Gensler says Warriors ‘pushed the boundaries’ with Chase Center," 6 Nov. 2019 When the heavens open, many happily sing and gambol in the rain. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "The climate activists preparing for arrest," 12 Oct. 2019 This gamboling musical adaptation, in which words spin freely as both spoken and sung non sequitur, celebrates circularity in all its manifold resonances. Los Angeles Times, "Review: The Odyssey’s ‘In Circles’ stylishly revives a ’60s Gertrude Stein musical experiment," 17 Sep. 2019 And where earlier series featured grown humans gamboling in costume, the new one is made as puppet animation, the most magical of animated mediums. Robert Lloyd,, "Review: 'Moon and Me,' from a mind behind 'Teletubbies,' has a dreamy charm," 6 June 2019 And whereas the earlier series featured grown humans gamboling in costume, the new one is made as puppet animation, the most magical kind. Robert Lloyd, Twin Cities, "‘Moon and Me,’ from a mind behind ‘Teletubbies,’ has a dreamy charm," 10 June 2019 The big charcoal drawings of similar woods in which Mr. Shaw gamboled as a child are similarly built more to impress than to move. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "‘George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field’ Review: Solid, Quietly Poetic and Gently Political," 3 Oct. 2018 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 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for gambol

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The first known use of gambol was in 1508

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gambol.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for gambol


How to pronounce gambol (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gambol

: to run or jump in a lively way


gam·​bol | \ ˈgam-bəl How to pronounce gambol (audio) \
gamboled or gambolled; gamboling or gambolling

Kids Definition of gambol

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on gambol

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gambol

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gambol

Spanish Central: Translation of gambol

Nglish: Translation of gambol for Spanish Speakers

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