A gambrel or gambrel roof is a usually symmetrical two-sided roof with two slopes on each side. (The usual architectural term in eighteenth-century England and North America was “Dutch roof.”) The upper slope is positioned at a shallow angle, while the lower slope is steep. This design provides the advantages of a sloped roof while maximizing headroom inside the building’s upper level and shortening what would otherwise be a tall roof.

The name comes from the Medieval Latin word gamba, meaning horse’s hock or leg. The term gambrel is of American origin, the older, European name being a curb (kerb, kirb) roof. Europeans historically did not distinguish between a gambrel roof and a mansard roof but called both types a mansard. In the United States, various shapes of gambrel roofs are sometimes called Dutch gambrel or Dutch Colonial gambrel with bell-cast eaves, Swedish ~, German ~, English ~ , French ~, or New England gambrel.

The usual architectural term in eighteenth-century England and North America was “Dutch roof.” The upper slope is positioned at a shallow angle, while the lower slope is steep. This design provides both the advantages of a sloped roof (like for snow) while maximizing headroom inside the building’s upper level and shortening what would otherwise be a tall roof.