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

It’s now proven to be one that doesn’t play to the level of it opponents, that doesn’t get overwhelmed by big occasions and that doesn’t get distracted from the game by gamesmanship. Brian Straus,, "Mexico Passes Another Kind of World Cup Test in Outlasting South Korea," 23 June 2018 In a 2-2 count, Barnhart wanted a low change-up but there was some gamesmanship. Bobby Nightengale,, "Luis Castillo pitches well, but Oscar Mercado's walk-off single drops Cincinnati Reds," 11 June 2019 Soccer is such a low-scoring sport by comparison with others that the margins for success and failure are particularly small; this means that acts of gamesmanship—a sly foul here, a cunning dive there—can be especially pivotal. Musa Okwonga, Quartz Africa, "How to make the case for and against VAR—video assistant referee—in the beautiful game," 10 June 2019 Other provisions in the amendment would be aimed at preventing gamesmanship by lawmakers who might try to abuse the process. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Better Way to Fix the Supreme Court," 4 June 2019 There’s also this — in a postseason full of gamesmanship, would anyone truly be surprised if Embiid walked out to a rocking ovation when starting lineups are introduced? Dan Gelston, The Seattle Times, "Bad knee makes Embiid doubtful for 76ers in Game 1 vs. Nets," 12 Apr. 2019 Photo: Gilder Lehrman Collection/Bridgeman Images My problem with the Senate is the political gamesmanship. WSJ, "Two Senators Per State Is the Right Number," 11 Oct. 2018 But his relationship with the media is, yes, there is gamesmanship to it. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Axios’ Jonathan Swan explains what the press gets wrong about the Trump administration," 6 Dec. 2018 What is required in this matter, as in any other, is sober analysis of the facts and the law—not partisan gamesmanship. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "“What is the FCC hiding?” Pai still won’t release net neutrality server logs," 3 Dec. 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

7 Aug 2019

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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

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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gamesmanship

Comments on gamesmanship

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of or relating to the heavens

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