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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gambolling
Historical Examples
  • He was off with a bound, gambolling about her like a wave of the sea.

    Boy Woodburn Alfred Ollivant
  • In your new garden I picture you gambolling with your children.

    Wagner as I Knew Him Ferdinand Christian Wilhelm Praeger
  • Every one hurried on deck, and we now saw that some seven or eight female narwhals were gambolling in the channel close upon us.

    Farthest North Fridtjof Nansen
  • She then called upon a dog which was gambolling close at hand.

  • The first we saw was tons of her gambolling around in the water.

    The Belted Seas Arthur Colton
  • Down the passage came leaping and gambolling the Doctor's marmoset.

    The Devil Doctor Sax Rohmer
  • A tame kid of snowy whiteness was gambolling before the door; till, grown bold by impunity, it bounded into the room.

    The Circassian Chief W.H.G. Kingston
  • The dogs were the first to announce the arrival of a friend, gambolling about him.

    Authors of Greece T. W. Lumb
  • They seemed to be great friends with my guide, gambolling around him and buffeting him unmercifully.

    Tales of the Wonder Club M. Y. Halidom (pseud. Dryasdust)
  • Gambling may be, as with a fearful irony it is called, play, but it is nearly as distant from gambolling as hell is from heaven.

    English Past and Present Richard Chevenix Trench
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.



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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