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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for gambol

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 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 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

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


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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


to spread as a report or rumor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!