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, 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

There’s something like $190 billion a year gambled on sports in America. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "Morality a non-factor as Illinois, others weigh sports betting," 14 May 2018 Royal baby number three just arrived this morning, but U.K. bookmakers have been gambling on the child’s name long before his arrival. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Will Kate Middleton and Prince William Name Their New Baby Boy?," 23 Apr. 2018 In production of the Model 3, Mr. Musk gambled by creating an assembly line that relies much more heavily on automated equipment and robots than workers. Neal E. Boudette, New York Times, "Tesla to Halt Production of Model 3 Cars Temporarily," 16 Apr. 2018 The younger Kushner gambled by selling off many of the apartments to buy the 666 Fifth Avenue tower and moved the company headquarters to the site, one of the most prized in Manhattan. Michael Kranish, Washington Post, "Jared Kushner’s father on probe into family company: ‘We are not at all concerned’," 22 Jan. 2018 That makes their win on Sunday the biggest upset of the tournament thus far (and a big money-maker for anybody who gambled on them). Chas Danner, Daily Intelligencer, "Mexico’s World Cup Goal Caused Man-Made Earthquake," 17 June 2018 Macron appeared to be gambling that his rhetorical repudiation of much of Trump's philosophy would not filter through or anger the US President, who is more susceptible to visuals and symbolism than complicated ideological arguments. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "After the hugs and kisses, Macron rips Trumpism," 25 Apr. 2018 Though the impact would initially be spotty — since most agencies would be closed until Monday — the story would be certain to dominate weekend news coverage, and each party would be gambling the public would blame the other. BostonGlobe.com, "Blame game, but no agreement after Trump, Schumer meet," 19 Jan. 2018 Though the impact would initially be spotty - since most agencies would be closed until Monday - the story would be certain to dominate weekend news coverage, and each party would be gambling the public would blame the other. Alan Fram And Andrew Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "House votes to avert federal shutdown; Senate chances dim," 18 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the ambitious gamble didn't pay off, resulting in widespread layoffs and the rescinding of an IPO offering that had been in the planning stages for several years. Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "Univision wants to sell The Onion and Gizmodo Media Group websites," 10 July 2018 But so far, Brantley has ensured that Cleveland’s gamble has paid off. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Nine Innings: Solving the Yankees' Sonny Gray Problem, AL East Deciding Factors and Our Favorite Statcast Quirks," 2 July 2018 The gamble pays off in hourlong episodes that blend personal story, the cinematic backdrop of New Orleans and supernatural intrigue into an antihero tale that stands out among its many competitors across cable, network and streaming platforms. Lorraine Ali, latimes.com, "'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger' gives us superheroes with a curfew and a very different sort of story line," 7 June 2018 The gamble, which didn’t quite pay off, meant a lack of both narrative momentum and tension, given that neither of the women Jessica was up against, her mother and her best friend, truly seemed to pose a threat to her. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Villainous Women of Jessica Jones," 15 Mar. 2018 But this is a gamble made more by heart than head, and Sutton’s success next season is now clearly dependent upon uncommon health and the uncommon versatility of Berry overcoming the coordinator’s weaknesses. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Why Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s mistake goes beyond keeping Bob Sutton," 27 Jan. 2018 The gamble paid off, and Chao today is on track to become one of China’s newest billionaires. Bloomberg.com, "How Chao Bet $500 Million on Himself—and Got Even Richer," 5 June 2017 Under its 51-year-old chief executive, Doug McMillon, Walmart has often taken a more liberal stance on issues in recent years—a gamble for a company based in Red State Arkansas. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "Walmart Takes a Stand on Guns, Gay Rights to Get People to Like It More," 5 July 2018 Cordova has also locked residencies from Solomun, Jamie Jones and Black Coffee, whose refined house and techno is a bold gamble for the Strip. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Billboard Dance Power Players 2018: The Managers, Live Leaders & Tastemakers Shaping the Genre," 23 Mar. 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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Statistics for gamble

Last Updated

3 Nov 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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Comments on gamble

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