games·man·ship | \ ˈgāmz-mən-ˌship \

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

Yes, gamesmanship for the Korean thing CAVUTO: In what way? Fox News, "How Will Markets Respond to North Korea Talks?," 12 June 2018 The subtleties of those traditions may well explain the wily rhythmic gamesmanship throughout the album, particularly from Eric Malu-Malu and Richard Kabanga on guitars. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Jupiter & Okwess Turn Congo Turbulence Into Ferocious Grooves," 3 July 2018 This is also the kind of gamesmanship that some Democrats might balk at — including a lot of people who were pretty upset about how the 2016 Democratic primary went down. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Bernie Sanders is still borrowing the Democratic Party," 21 May 2018 Washington, along with Europe, Japan and other trading partners, have complained that Beijing’s economic gamesmanship includes outright theft of foreign technology and subsidies and protection from competition for fledgling Chinese industries. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "China, in response to Trump, slaps tariffs on $34B in U.S. products, from soybeans to cigars," 16 June 2018 Expect similar gamesmanship this year after the Phil Hughes trade netted Pick No. Jeff Sanders,, "Impact on Padres' radar with Pick No. 7," 2 June 2018 This is where some gamesmanship could come into play. Edmund Lee, New York Times, "With Two Suitors for Fox, the Murdochs Consider Next Steps," 18 June 2018 At a time of intractable political differences and extreme partisan divides, the annual Republican vs. Democrat game is more three hours of levity and gamesmanship than solution to any grand problems. Phil Mattingly, CNN, "One year after grievous gunshot wound, Steve Scalise takes the field," 14 June 2018 The gamesmanship thus reduces their incentive to invest in new capacity or jobs. Greg Ip, WSJ, "Trump Shows How Not to Be a Protectionist," 30 May 2018

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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Statistics for gamesmanship

Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for gamesmanship

The first known use of gamesmanship was in 1947

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More Definitions for gamesmanship



English Language Learners Definition of gamesmanship

: 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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