Definition of gambol in English:



  • Run or jump about playfully.

    ‘the mare gamboled toward Connie’
    • ‘The newborn lambs gambolling in the fields are oblivious to the heartache which engulfed Town End farm two years ago, yet they symbolise the fresh optimism of farmer Chris.’
    • ‘So the animals will soon stop whimpering and licking their sore tails and soon start gambolling about again.’
    • ‘Never missing a step, he dances between the bullets as if he was gambolling through a forest.’
    • ‘While monster-hunting on this far-flung island's shores in 1998, I was enthralled to see otters gambolling playfully in the sand dunes.’
    • ‘A sprinter gambolling down that long straight hill at a rainy Goodwood is operating in a totally-different theatre from a similar type of horse rushing around a cramped dirt bend in sunny California.’
    • ‘There were about 20 children gambolling about, singing, playing and frolicking.’
    • ‘Going to the northern parts of the country or even the Swiss Alps for gambolling in the snow is soon going to be a thing of the past for Hyderabadis.’
    • ‘The Wife, of course, was already having a marvellous time and had been gambolling around since we'd left the train station.’
    • ‘We gambolled and frolicked until about four-thirty am.’
    • ‘Not only has he scrummaged well on what for him is the ‘wrong’ side, but he has gambolled about the park like a spring chicken, knocking people over and generally contributing far more to loose play than anyone expected.’
    • ‘Their experience of clearing is as idyllic as a young fawn gambolling down a dew-laden hillside.’
    • ‘There she was gambolling around Covent Garden one afternoon in her school uniform, minding her own business, when a scout from Elite modelling agency caught sight of the coltish 15-year-old.’
    • ‘At Dagne's Reef we passed time with Ben and Jerry, a pair of groupers who clearly enjoy divers' company and gambolled around like playful puppies.’
    • ‘Monkeys gambolled from here to there, keenly aware that their sport afforded a fair chance of a good snatch, so he spent most of lunch snarling with a stick.’
    • ‘Though for me the prettiest picture was the short white climb through wood anemones that brought us out of the valley and set us up for pastures where lambs posed on tree trunks and gambolled on grassy knolls to a backdrop of Helmsley Castle.’
    • ‘One of the joys of walking in the hills this weekend will be the sight of new-born lambs gambolling in the Easter sunshine.’
    • ‘For example, in 1960 The New York Times fashion writer had talked about Jackie's bouffant hairdo ‘that gambolled merrily in the breeze’.’
    • ‘So while my fellow geeks gamboled and romped and played in the hotel lobby - within the warm and nurturing hug of the conference's bubble of wireless broadband access - I was alone in my room doing email.’
    • ‘Whether it's true or not, the day when we gambolled happily through fields of wild flowers, swimming in mountain pools and picking mushrooms in the Autumn are over.’
    • ‘When the daffodils are blooming and the lambs are gambolling in the fields, blissfully unaware of their impending association with mint sauce, the world of rugby divides itself into two.’
    frolic, frisk, cavort, caper, skip, dance, romp, prance, leap, hop, jump, spring, bound, bounce
    rollick, curvet, capriole
    View synonyms


  • [usually in singular] An act of running or jumping about playfully.

    • ‘Dogs of decent size need a romp - a flat-out run, a gambol in a field or forest, a chance to splash in running water.’
    • ‘Her engaging survey and his fittingly opulent volume, an upbeat gambol through Bollywood's history, are both the work of knowledgeable enthusiasts.’
    • ‘The draw has brought the inevitable return of him for a last gambol around Highbury and if they emulate Liverpool in dismissing Juve in the quarters, then they may face Inter followed by Barca or AC Milan in the final.’
    • ‘There is nothing, indeed, that makes the judicious grieve more than maladroit flattery, which is as embarrassing to the victim as the clumsy caresses of the horse in the fable who tried to emulate the dog's gambols about his master.’
    • ‘Compared to today, Monday qualified as a carefree gambol around Disneyland.’
    • ‘I grabbed Christian and made him indulge in a gambol with me.’
    • ‘The creators wanted him to resemble an ivy-league professor out for an autumnal gambol about the campus.’
    • ‘The dog at his feet, who'd been sniffing at me suspiciously and tugging at its leash, gave a sudden gambol and licked my hand, barking enthusiastically.’
    • ‘So, the wonderful free gambol in the pastures is over and The Guardian is now having to share the cowshed with everybody else; even the BBC will find itself lassoed by the government sooner or later.’


Early 16th century: alteration of obsolete gambade, via French from Italian gambata trip up from gamba leg.