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See more synonyms for gamin on Thesaurus.com
  1. a neglected boy left to run about the streets; street urchin.
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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

Related Words


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?

British Dictionary definitions for gamin


  1. a street urchin; waif
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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

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"]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper