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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 gambolling
Historical Examples
  • This man's was different: soft, non-intellectual, warm, a kind of gambolling.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • In your new garden I picture you gambolling with your children.

    Wagner as I Knew Him Ferdinand Christian Wilhelm Praeger
  • She then called upon a dog which was gambolling close at hand.

  • Among the tufted bog-rushes, the lambs were gambolling a few yards away.

    The Gypsy's Parson George Hall
  • The first we saw was tons of her gambolling around in the water.

    The Belted Seas Arthur Colton
  • A fine porpoise had been gambolling in the river, near the Haven Bridge.

    Yarmouth Notes Frederick Danby Palmer
  • Here was plenty of animation, plenty of scurrying and gambolling, of laughter and tears.

    And Even Now Max Beerbohm
  • Down the passage came leaping and gambolling the Doctor's marmoset.

    The Devil Doctor Sax Rohmer
  • He was off with a bound, gambolling about her like a wave of the sea.

    Boy Woodburn Alfred Ollivant
  • The dogs were the first to announce the arrival of a friend, gambolling about him.

    Authors of Greece T. W. Lumb
British Dictionary definitions for gambolling


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 gambolling



"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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