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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Reasons for not signing: Leonard probably wouldn’t join the Clippers to be Durant’s sidekick, which means Durant would have to gamble on the front office bringing in someone notable next year. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Kevin Durant’s free agency: An in-depth breakdown of the superstar’s options," 26 June 2019 This is the second time since 2011 the Cavs gambled on a star point guard with limited college career. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "NBA Draft 2019: Cleveland Cavaliers select Darius Garland at No. 5," 20 June 2019 Saudi Arabia may regret gambling on tech firms beset with regulatory and managerial problems. The Economist, "Gulf states are becoming more adventurous investors," 14 June 2019 Pulisic, a native of Hershey, Pa., is one of the rare Americans to gamble on soccer abroad so early in his career. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Christian Pulisic Becomes Most Expensive U.S. Soccer Star After Record Transfer," 2 Jan. 2019 Patterson has not gambled since the day of his arrest. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, and when to get help," 16 June 2019 By trading DeMar DeRozan for Leonard, the Raptors gambled on getting an even better player, and maybe even the best player in the world. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Toronto Raptors Win the NBA Championship," 14 June 2019 Not gambling with money, not splurging but taking the time to really think about investing it smartly. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Ex-Pacer Troy Murphy living on Vegas strip helping the suddenly rich and not making a dime," 10 June 2019 As for the last two picks, the Eagles gambled on size. Zach Berman, Philly.com, "Thoughts on the Eagles' draft | Early Birds," 2 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Attempting to tie together a multi-night trip for the untimely summer holiday feels like a scheduling gamble — one where the odds probably just won't fall in our favor. Elizabeth Buxton, refinery29.com, "Stuck In A Mid-Week July Fourth Rut? We Have The Star-Spangled Plan," 5 July 2019 His signing had looked like a smart, savvy gamble by the club’s front office. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Diamondbacks' Lovullo hesitant to defend Holland after another walk-off loss to Dodgers," 3 July 2019 Thanks to Mr Rajeevan and his colleagues, the odds of each year’s gamble are now better known. The Economist, "The South Asian monsoon, past, present and future," 27 June 2019 Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal LEXINGTON - PJ Washington’s gamble paid off. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Charlotte Hornets draft PJ Washington with No. 12 pick in NBA draft," 20 June 2019 Chandler Smith used a little strategy gamble and a little bumper Friday night to stay unbeaten in the ARCA Menards Series at Madison International Speedway. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "16-year-old roughs up his teammate to repeat as ARCA winner at Madison," 14 June 2019 The findings underscore the economic gamble President Donald Trump would be taking by imposing tariffs on Mexico, which is now America's largest trading partner, after taking into consideration the recent China tariffs. Matt Egan, CNN, "Tariffs on Mexico could cost America 400,000 jobs, a new report says," 5 June 2019 Whether Major League Soccer’s gamble pays off for the league or for communities with MLS teams remains to be seen. Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "Orlando offers glimpse at FC Cincinnati soccer stadium future and the impact on a community," 31 May 2019 Whether future Russians will benefit from the present Arctic gamble—or will see it as Putin's folly—remains to be seen. National Geographic, "See Russia’s massive new gas plant on the Arctic coast," 22 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gamble

Statistics for gamble

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gamble

The first known use of gamble was in 1757

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on gamble

What made you want to look up gamble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!