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

From North America to North Korea, Mr Trump has made a habit of threatening to abandon his own deals even after reaching them through brinkmanship. The Economist, "Mexico rejoices after averting Donald Trump’s tariffs threat," 9 June 2019 If his trade brinkmanship so far is any indication, the president seems willing to risk these dire results. James Bacchus, WSJ, "America Needs the WTO," 12 July 2018 Once the bank of photographers recedes from Zuckerberg's table and committee members adjust their microphones and talking points, a bristling mix of personalities, egos and brinkmanship is expected to unfold. Jeffrey Fleishman,, "Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Congress has the makings of riveting televised political drama," 9 Apr. 2018 While the detente was praised by officials at the United Nations and breaks months of brinkmanship over Kim’s nuclear program, tensions remain. Andy Sharp,, "North Korea Goes Ahead With Seoul Visit After Olympics Deal," 20 Jan. 2018 The brinkmanship is not unusual and is often baked into government budget negotiations with threats of a shutdown serving as catalysts to last-minute deals. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Feud Over Millionaire’s Tax Inches New Jersey Closer to Shutdown," 28 June 2018 Schumer suspects, as do many lawmakers in the Capitol, that Trump’s opposition to the project is aimed at winning leverage to fund the border wall, but the brinkmanship is adding uncertainty to the negotiations. Washington Post, "Money’s not the main issue as lawmakers tackle spending bill," 10 Mar. 2018 But if that brinkmanship had ended differently, the costs would’ve been tremendous. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Trump has eroded important democratic institutions. Will Democratic wins change that?," 8 Nov. 2018 The brinkmanship, favored by Steve Bannon, might hurt red-state Senate Democrats, but could boomerang in the House, the Journal says. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Critics say Trump doesn't care about losing the House. Really?," 1 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for brinkmanship

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for brinkmanship

The first known use of brinkmanship was in 1956

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More Definitions for brinkmanship



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

More from Merriam-Webster on brinkmanship

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brinkmanship

Nglish: Translation of brinkmanship for Spanish Speakers

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showing courage and determination

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