gamble

1 of 2

verb

gam·​ble ˈgam-bəl How to pronounce gamble (audio)
gambled; gambling ˈgam-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce gamble (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: to play a game for money or property
b
: to bet on an uncertain outcome
2
: to stake something on a contingency (see contingency sense 1) : take a chance

transitive verb

1
: to risk by gambling : wager
2
gambler noun

gamble

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: an act having an element of risk
b
: something chancy
2
: the playing of a game of chance for stakes

Examples of gamble in a Sentence

Verb He's been drinking and gambling heavily. He would often gamble hundreds of dollars on a hand of poker. The mayor is gambling with the city's future. people who lost money gambling in the stock market The mayor is gambling that the new policies will help rather than hurt the city. Noun Starting her own business was a gamble, but it paid off. She thought about starting her own business, but she decided it was too much of a gamble.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. Don Sweeney, Miami Herald, 14 Apr. 2024 Sports Why feds say Shohei Ohtani is a ‘victim’: Interpreter allegedly paid gambling debts pretending to be Dodger April 12, 2024 No, Ohtani did not gamble on baseball. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 As for cheating scandals, if Romans were gambling at the Colosseum, some hustler was probably out there trying to convince a gladiator to throw a fight. Jay Caspian Kang, The New Yorker, 29 Mar. 2024 How did finding out that your dad gambled most of his money away affect you? Jane Thier, Fortune, 28 Mar. 2024 The renaming was designed as a humorous way to promote the casino as a fun place to stay and gamble. Karu F. Daniels, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Apr. 2024 School officials are also hesitant to gamble with the risk of children being outdoors during the eclipse without proper supervision. USA TODAY, 2 Apr. 2024 With Italy’s European title defence on the line, national team boss Luciano Spalletti has demonstrated a willingness to gamble on younger, unproven players who exemplify humility and courage. David Ferrini, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 In 2023, Americans gambled a record $119.84 billion on sports, according to the American Gaming Association’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. Harry Enten, CNN, 29 Mar. 2024
Noun
Such steps, which have created many controversies, seem gratuitous at best and risky at worst—needless gambles for a party cruising to victory. Hartosh Singh Bal, Foreign Affairs, 12 Apr. 2024 After four days filled with hours-long pitches to tease blockbuster hopefuls and big gambles, Variety has assessed the studio presentations that may have missed the mark or could just salvage the struggling box office. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 12 Apr. 2024 Until then, mine was a life that often felt cobbled together from accidents and gambles. Iva Dixit, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2024 The gamble paid off for Schneidermann, who became CEO of the firm in 2019. Lila MacLellan, Fortune, 1 Apr. 2024 The gamble paid off, and now Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps are unlikely world champions at ages 40 and 32. Holly Yan, CNN, 23 Mar. 2024 The thrill of the pastime has always been this gamble: No one knows what’s inside the box. Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2024 But traveling the length of Highway 1 can be a gamble as it is frequently shut down by landslides and cliff erosion that block the highway and strand people — particularly in the Big Sur region. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2024 Many of these scams involve project financing because the victims are desperate for money and are willing to take a crazy gamble out of pure blind hope. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gamble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

probably back-formation from gambler, perhaps alteration (by dissimilation, or substitution of the frequentative suffix -le) of early Modern English gamner "player in a game," from gamen "to play" (going back to Middle English gamenen, going back to Old English gamenian, derivative of gamen game entry 1) + -er -er entry 2

Noun

noun derivative of gamble entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

1757, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of gamble was in 1757

Dictionary Entries Near gamble

Cite this Entry

“Gamble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gamble. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

gamble

1 of 2 verb
gam·​ble ˈgam-bəl How to pronounce gamble (audio)
gambled; gambling -b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce gamble (audio)
1
a
: to play a game for money or property
b
: to bet on an uncertain outcome
2
: to bet something on the chance of gain : take a chance
we gambled on not being seen
3
gambler noun

gamble

2 of 2 noun
1
: a risky undertaking
2
: a betting on a game of chance

Legal Definition

gamble

verb
gam·​ble ˈgam-bəl How to pronounce gamble (audio)
gambled; gambling

intransitive verb

: to risk something of value for the chance of winning a prize

transitive verb

: to risk (something) for the chance of winning a prize
gambler noun

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