brink·man·ship | \ ˈbriŋk-mən-ˌship \
variants: or less commonly brinksmanship \ˈbriŋ(k)s-mən- \

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

Still, such brinkmanship, in the middle of the midterm election season, could cost Republican support in farm states that benefit from agricultural sales to Mexico and Canada. William Mauldin, WSJ, "As Nafta Deadline Nears, Four Scenarios That Could Unfold," 15 May 2018 The hearings come at a moment of brinkmanship and negotiation, with the world’s two largest economies repeatedly veering toward a trade war only to reverse course and edge instead toward diplomatic discussions. Ana Swanson, New York Times, "Businesses Race to Washington to Sway Trump on China Tariffs," 15 May 2018 That creates more certainty and reduces opportunities for partisan brinkmanship. Derek Kilmer, Time, "How to Stop Government Shutdowns," 24 Jan. 2018 Eight defectors — six living in South Korea and two in the United States — met Trump in February in the Oval Office, drawn into the very heart of the brinkmanship and political theater that led to the summit. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, "Outspoken North Korean defectors allow themselves to wonder: Could they really go home again?," 10 June 2018 At the very least, the stage looks set for brinkmanship, if not an open trade war. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "Boeing’s biggest trade fight could spark a U.S. confrontation with Europe," 12 Feb. 2018 One month after his 2015 trip failed to convince the Greeks to drop their brinkmanship, tensions between Athens and its creditors were growing, and Wieser was back on a plane to Greece for a second clandestine mission. Viktoria Dendrinou,, "Euro-Area ‘Linchpin’ Departs as Bloc Seeks to Start New Chapter," 21 Jan. 2018 The economic danger is that both sides, and Mr. Trump in particular, seem to see more benefit in trade brinkmanship. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "China Trade Brinkmanship," 4 Apr. 2018 Still in his 30s (like much about him and his country, his exact age is a mystery), he may be daunted by the bleak prospect of a lifetime of nuclear brinkmanship. The Economist, "Dealing with North Korea, Trump puts showmanship first," 14 June 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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Last Updated

26 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for brinkmanship

The first known use of brinkmanship was in 1956

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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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the setting in which something occurs

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