- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for gamin
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
The morrow when we shall need every man—nay, every gamin—will dawn soon.The Parisians, Complete
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?
- a street urchin; waif
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