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From earlier gambolde, from Middle French gambade (modern gambade).


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Particularly: "UK"


gambol (third-person singular simple present gambols, present participle (UK) gambolling or (US) gamboling, simple past and past participle (UK) gambolled or (US) gamboled)

  1. (intransitive) To move about playfully; to frolic.
    • 1835: William Gilmore Simms, The Partisan: A Romance of the Revolution, chapter XI, page 134 (Harper)
      The lawn spread freely onward, as of old, over which, in sweet company, he had once gambolled.
    • 1907, Paul Lafargue, The rights of the horse, page 160:
      […] she remains near him to suckle him and teach him to choose the delicious grasses of the meadow, in which he gambols until he is grown.
    • In the ecstasy of that thought they gambolled round and round, they hurled themselves into great leaps of excitement.
    • 1948, F. H. Lyon, chapter 5, in Kon-Tiki, translation of original by Thor Heyerdahl, ISBN 1-56849-010-0, page 143:
      [The whales] quite enjoyed themselves gamboling freely among the waves in the sunshine.
    • 1995, Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, ISBN 0553380966, page 286:
      Three girls moved across the billiard-table lawn of a great manor house, circling and swarming about a common center of gravity like gamboling sparrows.
  2. (Britain, West Midlands) To do a forward roll.



gambol (plural gambols)

  1. An instance of running or skipping about playfully.
    • 1843, Edgar Allan Poe, The Gold Bug, page 10:
      When his gambols were over, I looked at the paper, and, to speak the truth, found myself not a little puzzled at what my friend had depicted.
  2. An instance of more general frisking or frolicking.
    • 1819, Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, The Voyage:
      There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe with which I looked down, from my giddy height, on the monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols.