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

The real crime is on the interior, where Johnson turns a crucifix—a symbol of the greatest sacrifice—into an excuse for empty formal gamesmanship. Mark Lamster, Curbed, "Arbiter of taste, enfant terrible: The best and worst of Philip Johnson," 6 Nov. 2018 The bill had a rocky start, with an early incarnation scuttled in committee thanks to ISP lobbyist gamesmanship. Karl Bode, The Verge, "California is leading the state-by-state fight for net neutrality," 1 Sep. 2018 None of that gamesmanship is likely to happen Tuesday. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "For All His Deals, Trump Has Never Faced an Adversary Like Kim Jong-un," 11 June 2018 None of that gamesmanship is likely to happen Tuesday., "Trump has never faced an adversary like Kim Jong Un," 11 June 2018 As great as the gamesmanship would have been, the Vikings will keep the doors closed at U.S. Bank Stadium. Andrew Joseph, USA TODAY, "Vikings will keep stadium doors closed against the Saints," 10 Jan. 2018 Fidel Escobar brought down Lingard in the box and Harry Kane kept his cool despite some Panamanian gamesmanship to score his third of the tournament., "England 6-1 Panama: Three Lions Roar With Biggest Ever World Cup Win to Book Last 16 Spot," 24 June 2018 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

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

13 Nov 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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Comments on gamesmanship

What made you want to look up gamesmanship? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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