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

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes pitched the $300 million project to stop gambling dollars from heading to a new MGM casino in Springfield. Russell Blair, courant.com, "Sports betting, a Bridgeport casino and esports at the XL Center. Here’s how expanded gambling could play out in Connecticut.," 6 Aug. 2019 Investigators say Golant and his associates gambled at least $46 million clients thought was going to car purchases and exports. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Luxury car exporter who disappeared while on probation gets 10 years in prison over $30 million fraud," 6 Aug. 2019 Based on the reaction of shares, investors gambled on it anyway. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "The FBI thinks Long Island Iced Tea’s infamous pivot to blockchain was sweetened by insider trading," 25 July 2019 For the artists gambling their reputation, the measure of success is personal. Jack Tregoning, Billboard, "Behind the Rise -- And Risks -- Of Artist-Driven Dance Music Festivals," 26 June 2019 This would increase profits but, according to gambling addiction counselors, exacerbate problem gambling. Jason Grotto, ProPublica, "Illinois Video Gambling Tax Hike Will Be Decided by Lawmakers With Financial Ties to the Industry," 10 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Buying a home without first seeing the inside is quite a gamble. R. Daniel Foster, Los Angeles Times, "Exes execute renovation success on Bravo’s ‘Flipping Exes’," 2 Aug. 2019 However, the decision to trade proven veteran arms is also a gamble for the Giants as the team is now banking on the replacements maintaining the impressive level of production the club has received from its bullpen this year. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants replace injured slugger with Triple-A strikeout percentage leader," 1 Aug. 2019 At the base of a canyon, every fire season can be a gambleRuidoso, N.M. Cascade-Chipita Park, Colo. Merlin, Ore. Riggins, Idaho Leavenworth, Wash. Idyllwild-Pine Cove, Calif. Hayfork, Calif. East Glacier Park Village, Mont. AZCentral.com, "At the base of a canyon, every fire season can be a gamble," 23 July 2019 Politically, support for reparations would seem to be a pretty big gamble. Michael Tanner, National Review, "The Wrenching Reparations Question," 26 June 2019 People need to know that putting foreign objects in your body is always a gamble. Lacey Johnson, Marie Claire, "Breast Implant Illness Is a Risk We Don't Talk About," 25 June 2019 Finding a cheap flight from Phoenix to Las Vegas may no longer be a gamble as a third airline has entered the low-fare competition at Sky Harbor International Airport. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "Frontier Airlines launches Phoenix-Las Vegas flights Sept. 6," 25 June 2019 And when things are uncertain, overexposing a fund to one company can be a foolish gamble. Lizette Chapman, Fortune, "This VC Firm Invested $200 Million in Slack. Now Its Stake Is Worth $4.6 Billion," 21 June 2019 Still, near 7-footers with plus shooting and passing skills are worth a second-round gamble. Matt Schubert, The Denver Post, "The Nuggets begin NBA draft night without a pick. But could they finish it with a new player?," 20 June 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

11 Aug 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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