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[gam-in] /ˈgæm ɪn/
a neglected boy left to run about the streets; street urchin.
Origin of gamin
From French, dating back to 1830-40, orig. boy assisting a glassblower, young boy; of uncertain origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gamin
Historical Examples
  • She flashed him a gamin grin and they went on into the control room.

    Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
  • A group of youths who were standing near shouted "Well said, gamin."

    The Silver Lining John Roussel
  • The morrow when we shall need every man—nay, every gamin—will dawn soon.

    The Parisians, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • I was as hot as fire, and some of the gamin's blood was still on my hand.

    Explorers of the Dawn Mazo de la Roche
  • Why not, if you are all republicans, and see no more in a prince than in a gamin?

  • The Parisian, gamin or marquis, will have no bad music or acting.

    Nasby in Exile David R. Locke
  • I ought not to have kept it to look at like a gamin with his marbles.

  • All the gamin's impudence melts at a touch of true kindness.

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • Jadiver inspected it thoroughly, the gamin standing impatiently at his side.

    Tangle Hold F. L. Wallace
  • But the gamin was petticoated and the burlesque scenes set in a comedy.

    The English Stage Augustin Filon
British Dictionary definitions for gamin


/ˈɡæmɪn; French ɡamɛ̃/
a street urchin; waif
Word Origin
from French
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 gamin

"street urchin," 1837, from French gamin (18c.), perhaps from Berrichon dialect gamer "to steal." Introduced in English in translations of Hugo.

Un groupe d'enfants, de ces petits sauvages vanu-pieds qui ont de tout temps battu le pavé de Paris sous le nom éternel de gamins, et qui, lorsque nous étions enfants aussi, nous ont jeté des pierres à tous, le soir, au sortir de classe, parce que nos pantalons n'étaient pas déchirés; etc. [Hugo, "Notre-Dame de Paris"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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