brink·​man·​ship | \ ˈbriŋk-mən-ˌship How to pronounce brinkmanship (audio) \
variants: or less commonly brinksmanship \ ˈbriŋ(k)s-​mən-​ˌship How to pronounce brinksmanship (audio) \

Definition of brinkmanship

: the art or practice of pushing a dangerous situation or confrontation to the limit of safety especially to force a desired outcome

Examples of brinkmanship in a Sentence

two nations caught up in nuclear brinksmanship
Recent Examples on the Web If this is just classic North Korean brinkmanship, Trump may be shrewd not to give in to another cycle of attention-demanding threats. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Have Trump and Kim Jong Un fallen out of "love"?," 8 Dec. 2019 And in the midst of dangerous brinkmanship with Iran, Trump falsely accused President Barack Obama of opening the U.S. treasury to Tehran and handing over a fortune. Calvin Woodward, Fortune, "Fact Checking Trump’s Recent Claims on Iran, Jobs, and the Environment," 13 Jan. 2020 But this act of brinkmanship also increases the chance of the U.K. leaving without a deal at all. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "Boris Johnson will finally pass a Brexit but E.U. divorce is far from 'done'," 19 Dec. 2019 But the drama and the level of brinkmanship over the polarizing issue of immigration have raised doubts about the sustainability of Ms. Merkel’s left-right coalition and left the chancellor bruised at the hands of her closest partners. James Marson, WSJ, "Germany’s Merkel Secures Deal on Migrants, Averts Government Collapse," 2 July 2018 Lawmakers in both parties applauded the deal for ratcheting down the budget brinkmanship that characterized the first years of the Trump administration and led to the nation’s longest government shutdown in the winter. Damian Paletta, Washington Post, "Trump urges Republicans to support budget deal as House prepares to vote," 25 July 2019 The tolerance of this metropole class for brinkmanship against Brexit is effectively endless. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Reasons to Bet for or against Brexit," 11 Sep. 2019 Combining this brinkmanship with the general worries about the global economy — U.S. stocks tumbled at opening Wednesday on fears of a recession, while Germany announced its economy had shrunk on the same day — could keep the pound low for a while. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "How Brexit ravaged the once-mighty British pound," 15 Aug. 2019 And lawmakers in both parties applauded the deal for ratcheting down the budget brinkmanship that characterized the first years of the Trump administration and led to the nation's longest government shutdown, 35 days, this winter. Author: Erica Werner, Damian Paletta, Anchorage Daily News, "House passes two-year budget deal to lift spending, suspend debt ceiling," 25 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brinkmanship.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brinkmanship

1956, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of brinkmanship was in 1956

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brinkmanship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce brinkmanship (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of brinkmanship

: the practice of causing or allowing a situation to become extremely dangerous in order to get the results that you want

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Nglish: Translation of brinkmanship for Spanish Speakers

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