games·​man·​ship | \ ˈgāmz-mən-ˌship How to pronounce gamesmanship (audio) \

Definition of gamesmanship

1 : the art or practice of winning games by questionable expedients without actually violating the rules
2 : the use of ethically dubious methods to gain an objective

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Examples of gamesmanship in a Sentence

They blur the line between gamesmanship and cheating. that author doesn't go in for literary gamesmanship, so the reader is never led astray by the novel's narrator
Recent Examples on the Web One star pitcher angrily stared down an opposing manager for requesting an additional check that reeked of gamesmanship. New York Times, 25 June 2021 Others who’ve had to endure Putin’s tardy gamesmanship include German Chancellor Angela Merkel (four hours), former Secretary of State John Kerry (three hours), Pope Francis (50 minutes) and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth (14 minutes). Michael Collins, USA TODAY, 16 June 2021 Some experts are urging governments to wait for international standards on the passports before opening up travel, lest uneven standards lead to unsafe practices or geopolitical gamesmanship. New York Times, 2 Mar. 2021 Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the policy is that a request to check a pitcher cannot be wielded for purposes of gamesmanship., 15 June 2021 There was a bit of gamesmanship ahead of the confab with the U.S. announcing hefty tariffs against a host of G7 countries, before suspending them. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 4 June 2021 But their gamesmanship is setting a precedent that will increase market uncertainty and harm innovation. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 2 June 2021 In a bit of political gamesmanship, the White House plans to dispatch First Lady Jill Biden to West Virginia that same day, taking the administration’s campaign for its domestic agenda to Capito’s home state. Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2021 Shaw clearly did not enjoy the political gamesmanship at City Hall. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 25 May 2021

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

1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gamesmanship

games, plural of game entry 1 + -manship (after sportsmanship)

Note: A word popularized and probably originated in this sense by the British author Stephen Potter (1900-69) in The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship (1947).

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Learn More About gamesmanship

Time Traveler for gamesmanship

Time Traveler

The first known use of gamesmanship was in 1947

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Dictionary Entries Near gamesmanship



games master

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Statistics for gamesmanship

Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gamesmanship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for gamesmanship



English Language Learners Definition of gamesmanship

usually disapproving
: the practice of winning a game or contest by doing things that seem unfair but that are not actually against the rules
: the clever use of skills or tricks to succeed or do something


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