games·​man·​ship ˈgāmz-mən-ˌship How to pronounce gamesmanship (audio)
: the art or practice of winning games by questionable expedients without actually violating the rules
: the use of ethically dubious methods to gain an objective

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 manipulation, the deception, the psychological complexity, the games, and the gamesmanship. Addie Morfoot, Variety, 8 May 2024 On the surface level, both comments felt like mere gamesmanship. Andre Gee, Rolling Stone, 7 May 2024 Some of this would be gamesmanship — the miniseries field is wildly overstuffed this year, whereas the end of Succession has left the drama world as wide-open as it’s been in a long time. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 24 Apr. 2024 Clearly, Guadagnino’s interest lies more in relationships, in the gamesmanship of desire than the sportsmanship of tennis. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Apr. 2024 And if Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta try to point it out before Manchester City faces Arsenal on Sunday, it will be viewed as gamesmanship, or deflection, or unapologetic sophistry. Rory Smith, New York Times, 29 Mar. 2024 The team gets a stroke of luck in the early rounds, earning a bye when tournament favorites South Africa see their arrival delayed by passport issues, though there’s no prize for guessing that sportsmanship will trump gamesmanship in the long run. Guy Lodge, Variety, 21 Mar. 2024 Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce vs. Justin Tucker There's some early gamesmanship going on during pregame warm-ups in Baltimore. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 28 Jan. 2024 In a statement, the top lawmakers said House Republicans would prioritize Kansans over political gamesmanship but did not detail the form that would take. Katie Bernard, Kansas City Star, 21 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gamesmanship.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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).

First Known Use

1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gamesmanship was in 1947

Dictionary Entries Near gamesmanship

Cite this Entry

“Gamesmanship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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