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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, from Middle French gambade, variant of gambado2
Can be confused
gamble, gambol.
1. spring, caper, frisk, romp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gambolled
Historical Examples
  • At eight oclock they started, accompanied by Duk, who frisked and gambolled with delight.

    The Field of Ice Jules Verne
  • He ran, gambolled, and sang for happiness when he saw all this living water.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • He never played and gambolled about with the other puppies of the camp.

    White Fang Jack London
  • It was a very nice-looking kid, and it frisked and gambolled most alluringly.

    Under the Red Crescent Charles S. Ryan
  • Giles seized his and rolled it along the floor and gambolled after it.

  • Carlo, half maddened with joy, frisked and gambolled round them.

  • He had gambolled, indeed, but he had gambolled strictly à deux.

    V. V.'s Eyes

    Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • He followed me and gambolled like a dog, rolling over on the turf and exhibiting his delight in a hundred ways.

  • As they approached, the dogs all sprang forward, and gambolled around them.

  • Here and there the heavens were flecked with fleecy clouds, which gambolled gently before the breeze.

    The Siege of Mafeking (1900) J. Angus Hamilton.
British Dictionary definitions for gambolled


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 gambolled



"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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