gym·​kha·​na jim-ˈkä-nə How to pronounce gymkhana (audio) -ˈka- How to pronounce gymkhana (audio)
: a meet featuring sports contests or athletic skills: such as
: competitive games on horseback
: a timed contest for automobiles featuring a series of events designed to test driving skill

Did you know?

Both the word gymkhana and the event it describes originated in 19th-century India. The word is probably an alteration of the Hindi "gedkhana," which describes a ball- playing area similar to a racket ball court, with the first syllable influenced by our word gymnasium. The first gymkhanas were displays of athletics and equestrian skill, and while those are still common, the 20th century introduced a new kind of gymkhana, designed to show off car handling. These newer gymkhanas are often held in parking lots, where contestants race over tight, twisting courses marked with cones or pylons.

Examples of gymkhana in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Running a gymkhana in the 600SL would be like asking Her Majesty to run a boot-camp obstacle course. Frank Markus, Car and Driver, 2 Jan. 2023 In the episode, Ken talks with editor Jake Lingeman about the newest gymkhana car, the Hoonifox, and his aspirations to film it in Miami with an '80s Miami Vice vibe. Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver, 14 May 2020 Workers were dragging and wetting the sand/clay mixture before the start of the gymkhana event, and the girls wanted a front row seat. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, 5 Sep. 2017 Veronica Duncan knew at once what to look for in a pony or a horse, after all those gymkhanas and point-to-points. The Economist, 12 Oct. 2017 And for the horse lovers, there was a gymkhana in the arena. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, 14 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gymkhana.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably modification of Hindi gẽdkhāna & Urdu gendkhāna, literally, ball court

First Known Use

1877, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gymkhana was in 1877


Dictionary Entries Near gymkhana

Cite this Entry

“Gymkhana.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on gymkhana

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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