gamble

verb
gam·ble | \ ˈgam-bəl \
gambled; gambling\ˈgam-b(ə-)liŋ \

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 \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for gamble

Synonyms: Verb

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

Synonyms: Noun

adventure, chance, enterprise, flier (also flyer), 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

Instead of – literally – just standing there and taking away Auro’s options, El-Munir decided to gamble in an attempt to poke the ball away for what likely would have been a throw-in. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City’s loss to Toronto FC sets up critical match against Chicago Fire," 19 May 2018 Windsor has long been a party destination for young Americans because 19-year-olds can legally drink and gamble there, two years earlier than in most of the United States. Lornet Turnbull, Washington Post, "When marijuana is legal in Canada, Americans are expected to flock. But the border, and U.S. law, stands in the way.," 11 July 2018 But the Marlins gambled and lost that same inning when, with the bases loaded, Anderson tested the arm of Gold Glove outfielder Kevin Kiermaier by tagging from third on Miguel Rojas’ medium-depth fly ball. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Marlins play into the Fourth of July, lose 16-inning marathon to Rays," 4 July 2018 Health risks and doubts aside, there is going to be a team that gambles (and rightly so) on Porter in the top-five and Memphis would be a likely landing spot. 5. Sarah Todd, Philly.com, "NBA mock draft: Mikal Bridges checks all of the Sixers' boxes | Sarah Todd," 20 June 2018 Sadler, driving the No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, gambled early, with the rain cell closing in. George Sipple, USA TODAY, "Austin Dillon wins rain-shortened NASCAR Xfinity race at Michigan," 9 June 2018 His team gambled in Atlantic City, N.J., annually and sometimes hit New York nightclubs until early morning, spending thousands of dollars a person on food and drinks, said people who attended some such events. Gregory Zuckerman, WSJ, "‘This Is Unbelievable’: A Hedge Fund Star Dims, and Investors Flee," 4 July 2018 By going ahead with the spinoff, ABC executives are gambling that viewers will approve of the network’s decision to bring back the Conners and will display an interest in characters who once served as foils to the lead. John Koblin, New York Times, "ABC Plans a ‘Roseanne’ Spinoff, Without Roseanne Barr," 21 June 2018 In addition to Dixon, three other drivers gambled to try to swipe a victory from the drivers who ran up front much of the day. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Will Power takes charge in final laps to win the Indianapolis 500," 27 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The chance to live a dream life made the gamble seem worthwhile, and the district that includes Leilani has been the fastest-growing in the state. James Burch, National Geographic, "Kilauea Photographers Aid Relief Effort in Hawaii Community," 12 May 2018 Jackson isn’t as fully formed and ready as Rosen, but is more of a dual threat, a bigger gamble with perhaps a higher ceiling. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Ready for a shock? Check out the pick for the Miami Dolphins | Miami Herald," 25 Apr. 2018 But the possible benefits — saving money and experiencing a destination like a local — are worth the gamble for some travelers. Washington Post, "How to read between the lines of Airbnb listings," 21 Mar. 2018 One of Apple’s many gambles with the Mac Pro was that Thunderbolt ports will someday be used with external hardware to eliminate the need for some internal upgrades. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iMac Pro review: Working as intended," 16 Feb. 2018 Think of it as a consolation prize—even if the biggest gamble in consumer electronics crashes and burns, 3D is still well positioned to become the new state of the art for video games. Erik Sofge, Popular Mechanics, "Why 3D Doesn't Work for TV, But Is Great for Gaming: Analysis," 11 Mar. 2010 His casting of non-professionals and first-timers is also a bold gamble that pays off. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Volcano': Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2018," 13 July 2018 Now the $350 billion Irving, Texas, company is returning to its old ways: big, disciplined spending on prospects that make money at low oil prices. The approach is a gamble in a new era of energy breakthroughs such as fracking and electric vehicles. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Exxon, Once a ‘Perfect Machine,’ Is Running Dry," 13 July 2018 On its own, yes, the Boogie signing is an interesting and probably meaningless gamble. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "The NBA is Broken, But Not Because of DeMarcus Cousins," 5 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to gamble

gamble away

take a gamble

Statistics for gamble

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

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 \
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 \
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 \ noun

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