Etymology
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gambol (v.)

"skip about in sport," 1580s; earlier gambade (c. 1500), from French gambader, from gambade (see gambol (n.)). Compare Middle English gambon "a ham" (see gammon); English dialectal gammerel "small of the leg;" gamble "a leg." Related: Gamboled; gamboling; gambolling.

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gambol (n.)

"frolic, merrymaking," 1590s, earlier gambolde "a skipping, a leap or spring" (1510s), from French gambade (15c.), from Late Latin gamba "horse's hock or leg," from Greek kampē "a bending" (on notion of "a joint"); see campus. Ending altered perhaps by confusion with formerly common ending -aud, -ald (as in ribald).

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game (adj.1)
"lame," 1787, from north Midlands dialect, of unknown origin, perhaps a variant of gammy (tramps' slang) "bad," or from Old North French gambe "leg" (see gambol (n.)).
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jamb (n.)
side-piece of an opening of a door, window, etc., early 14c., from Old French jambe "pier, side post of a door," originally "a leg, shank" (12c.), from Late Latin gamba "leg, (horse's) hock" (see gambol).
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gambrel (n.)
"hipped roof," 1851, short for gambrel roof (1763), 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).
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gammon (n.)
"ham or haunch of a swine," especially when smoked and cured, early 15c., gambon, from Old North French gambon "ham" (Old French jambon, 13c.), from gambe (Old French jambe) "leg," from Late Latin gamba "leg of an animal" (see gambol (n.)).
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gambit (n.)
"chess opening in which a pawn or piece is risked for advantage later," 1650s, gambett, from Italian gambetto, literally "a tripping up" (as a trick in wrestling), from gamba "leg," from Late Latin gamba (see gambol (n.)). Applied to chess openings in Spanish in 1561 by Ruy Lopez, who traced it to the Italian word, but the form in Spanish generally was gambito, which led to French gambit, which has influenced the English spelling of the word. Broader sense of "opening move meant to gain advantage" in English is recorded from 1855.
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gamble (v.)
"risk something of value on a game of chance," 1726 (implied in gambling), from a dialectal survival of Middle English gammlen, variant of gamenen "to play, jest, be merry," from Old English gamenian "to play, joke, pun," from gamen (see game (n.)), with form as in fumble, etc. Or possibly gamble is from a derivative of gamel "to play games" (1590s), itself likely a frequentative from game. Originally regarded as a slang word. The unetymological -b- may be from confusion with unrelated gambol (v.). Transitive meaning "to squander in gambling" is from 1808. Related: Gambled; gambling.
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vault (v.1)

"jump or leap over," especially by aid of the hands or a pole, 1530s, transitive (implied in vaulting); 1560s, intransitive, from French volter "to gambol, leap," from Italian voltare "to turn," from Vulgar Latin *volvitare "to turn, leap," frequentative of Latin volvere "to turn, turn around, roll" (from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve"). Related: Vaulted; vaulting.

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frisk (v.)

1510s, "to dance, frolic," from Middle English adjective frisk "lively" (mid-15c.), from Old French frisque "lively, brisk," also "fresh, new; merry, animated" (13c.), which is ultimately from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch vrisch "fresh," Old High German frisc "lively;" see fresh (adj.1)). Sense of "pat down in a search" first recorded 1781. Related: Frisked; frisking. As a noun, "a frolic, a gambol," from 1520s.

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