gamble

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

Definition of gamble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : 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

gamble

noun

Definition of gamble (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from gamble

Verb

gambler \ ˈgam-​blər How to pronounce gambler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for gamble

Synonyms: Verb

bet, go, lay, play, put, stake, wager

Synonyms: Noun

adventure, chance, crapshoot, enterprise, flier (also flyer), flutter [chiefly British], speculation, throw, venture

Antonyms: Noun

sure thing

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And of the male athletes who had gambled on sports, 13 percent had wagered on specific game situations with in-game bets. David Porter, The Seattle Times, "Easier gambling has sports worried about fighting the fix," 17 Sep. 2018 Despite PASPA’s existence, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates at least $150 billion a year is gambled on sports in the U.S. and 97% of that amount was bet illegally. A.j. Perez, USA TODAY, "What it means: Supreme Court strikes down PASPA law that limited sports betting," 14 May 2018 The armed forces gambled on Operation Watchtower, a joint air-land-sea operation in the Solomon Islands, designed to land U.S. Marines and Army troops to evict the Japanese and set up airbases. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Explorers Have Found the Wreckage of the Sunken World War II Aircraft Carrier USS Wasp," 14 Mar. 2019 Seattle could also gamble on Colome’s value increasing at the MLB trade deadline in 2019. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: What does Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto mean about a ‘step back’ in 2019?," 21 Nov. 2018 This leads to a risk-taking kind of life: People are more likely to gamble, play the odds, use drugs or drink, commit crimes. Scott Timberg, Vox, "How music has responded to a decade of economic inequality," 30 July 2018 Some see shielding investors from harm as their job; others think people should be free to gamble if this poses no wider risk. The Economist, "Regulating virtual currencies and ICOs," 26 Apr. 2018 In the event Cleveland alters their philosophy and decides to cover Turner more honestly, the next logical option to gamble off would be Young. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: What to watch in tonight's Pacers-Cavs playoff game," 18 Apr. 2018 The question is whether the Hornets are willing to gamble on another raw, developmental prospect this early in the draft. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "Barely 19, Zhaire Smith has 'surprised' in NBA workouts. Could Hornets take a gamble?," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Villa also need £40m in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, as their business model was based on the gamble that they would get promoted to the Premier League. SI.com, "Cash-Strapped Aston Villa Could Owe John Terry Over Half a Million Pounds in Wages," 20 June 2018 The calculated gamble: The move will help the Marlboro maker keep up with a quickly changing market. Jennifer Maloney And Dana Mattioli, WSJ, "Why Marlboro Maker Bet on Juul, the Vaping Upstart Aiming to Kill Cigarettes," 23 Mar. 2019 The AfD’s performance also showed that the CSU’s gamble — to veer to the right on immigration — might not have totally paid off. Jen Kirby, Vox, "German leader Angela Merkel was just dealt a major political blow," 15 Oct. 2018 The gamble paid off, giving the company a capitalization of $26.5 billion by the end of the day and making billions for the top five shareholders. Hallie Detrick, Fortune, "Did the IPO Market Seem White-Hot Over the Last 6 Months? You're Right, It Was," 2 July 2018 Then in 1997, a decade and a half after DeLorean went bust, Wynne took a gamble. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Inside the Car Company That's Resurrecting the DeLorean," 18 Jan. 2019 Her husband, a good man who doesn’t gamble, do drugs or chase floozies, has one flaw. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Wife's shopping list for husband: No Cocoa Krispies, no smoked liver, just berries!," 4 Apr. 2018 What today seems like the no-brainer that should have enticed bids from every major athletic shoe brand should be viewed more accurately as a first-of-its-kind gamble that almost didn’t happen. Ronald D. White, The Seattle Times, "How Michael Jordan became a brand (even though he almost skipped the meeting with Nike)," 19 Feb. 2019 If Kate Middleton is your royal skin-spo, that gamble will cost you $64. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Reportedly Swears by a $64 Natural Anti-Wrinkle Gel Called Biotulin," 2 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gamble.' 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 gamble

Verb

1757, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for gamble

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

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Statistics for gamble

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gamble

The first known use of gamble was in 1757

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More Definitions for gamble

gamble

verb

English Language Learners Definition of gamble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to play a game in which you can win or lose money or possessions : to bet money or other valuable things
: to risk losing (an amount of money) in a game or bet
: to risk losing (something valuable or important) in order to do or achieve something

gamble

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gamble (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that could produce a desired result or a bad or unpleasant result

gamble

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

Kids Definition of gamble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to play a game in which something (as money) can be won or lost : bet
2 : to take a chance I gambled on not being seen.

Other Words from gamble

gambler \ ˈgam-​blər \ noun

gamble

noun

Kids Definition of gamble (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that could produce a good or bad result : risk Starting a business can be a gamble.

gamble

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

Legal Definition of gamble

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

Other Words from gamble

gambler \ -​blər How to pronounce gambler (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on gamble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gamble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gamble

Spanish Central: Translation of gamble

Nglish: Translation of gamble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gamble for Arabic Speakers

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