[gam-bruh l]


the hock of an animal, especially of a horse.
Also called gambrel stick. a wood or metal device for suspending a slaughtered animal.

Origin of gambrel

1540–50; < Old North French gamberel, akin to French jambier legging, jambe leg Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gambrel

Historical Examples of gambrel

  • It has a gambrel roof, and is on the left when the train is going westward.


    Samuel T. Pickard

  • I turned about, and, addressing Gambrel earnestly, entreated him to "hang on to the wheel."

    The Shadow-Line

    Joseph Conrad

  • The opposite end is very different, and has a hipped or gambrel gable.

  • It is a low building, with a gambrel roof and a huge chimney.

    Not Pretty, But Precious

    John Hay, et al.

  • The Gambrel or Octagonal Roof, and consists of two eight and two nine inch boards thirty-four inches long.

    The Boy Craftsman

    A. Neely Hall

British Dictionary definitions for gambrel



the hock of a horse or similar animal
a frame of wood or metal shaped like a horse's hind leg, used by butchers for suspending carcasses of meat
short for gambrel roof

Word Origin for gambrel

C16: from Old Northern French gamberel, from gambe leg
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

Word Origin and History for gambrel

"hipped roof," 1851, short for gambrel roof, so called for its shape, from gambrel "horse's hind leg" (c.1600), earlier "wooden bar to hang carcasses" (1540s), perhaps from Old North French gamberel, from gambe "leg," from Late Latin gamba (see gambol).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper