Simple Definition of gambit
: a planned series of moves at the beginning of a game of chess
: something done or said in order to gain an advantage or to produce a desired result
Examples of gambit in a sentence
<I couldn't tell whether her earlier poor-mouthing had been sincere or just a gambit to get me to pick up the dinner check.>
Did You Know?
In 1656, a chess handbook was published that was said to have almost a hundred illustrated "gambetts." That early spelling of "gambit" is close to the Italian word, gambetto, from which it is derived. "Gambetto" was used for an act of tripping-especially one that gave an advantage, as in wrestling. The original chess gambit is an opening in which a bishop's pawn is sacrificed to gain some advantage, but the name is now applied to many other chess openings. After being pinned down to chess for about two centuries, "gambit" finally broke free of the hold and showed itself to be a legitimate contender in the English language by weighing in with other meanings.
Origin and Etymology of gambit
Italian gambetto, literally, act of tripping someone, from gamba leg, from Late Latin gamba, camba, from Greek kampē bend; probably akin to Gothic hamfs maimed, Lithuanian kampas corner
First Known Use: 1656
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up gambit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).