gumption

noun
gump·​tion | \ ˈgəm(p)-shən How to pronounce gumption (audio) \

Definition of gumption

1 : enterprise, initiative lacked the gumption to try
2 chiefly dialectal : common sense, horse sense

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English speakers have had gumption (the word, that is) since the early 1700s. The term's exact origins aren't known, but its earliest known uses are found in British and especially Scottish dialects (which also include the forms rumblegumption and rumgumption). In its earliest uses, gumption referred to intelligence or common sense, especially when those qualities were combined with high levels of energy. By the 1860s, American English speakers were also using gumption to imply ambition or tenacity, but it wasn't until the early 1900s that gumption began to appear in English texts as a direct synonym of courage or get-up-and-go. American showman P.T. Barnum also claimed that gumption named a particular kind of hard cider, but that sense is far from common today.

Examples of gumption in a Sentence

It took a lot of gumption to speak up for yourself like that. that girl has no more gumption than a grasshopper and is likely to marry the first man who comes along
Recent Examples on the Web For Le, putting her hand up for pre-selection took a lot of gumption. Alicia Vrajlal, refinery29.com, 17 Sep. 2021 In the current climate, regrettably, a union leader who doesn’t dither about the need for vaccine mandates in the workplace is showing real gumption. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 7 Aug. 2021 Felicity Staples surely belongs in this company, but with enough panache, gumption and resilience for a dozen of her own avatars. Washington Post, 17 July 2021 Even shaved ice has the gumption and self-respect to stick around when it's pressed into snow-cone service. Star Tribune, 9 July 2021 With the right equipment and and a little bit of gumption, golf fans might be able to catch a glimpse of Masters champion Hideki through the trees lining the East Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club. Dave Skretta, ajc, 29 July 2021 With the right equipment and and a little bit of gumption, golf fans might be able to catch a glimpse of Masters champion Hideki through the trees lining the East Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club. Dave Skretta, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 July 2021 Adapted from a comic book series, much of its horror elements have been stripped away, focusing instead on the gumption of a half-deer, half-human boy who sets off to find his mother, and caramel apples. Neal Justin, Star Tribune, 1 July 2021 His gumption was also the foundation of his survival throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in an industry that was all but entirely shut down by the crisis. Karl Moore, Forbes, 15 June 2021

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

1719, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for gumption

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for gumption

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The first known use of gumption was in 1719

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Dictionary Entries Near gumption

gum pocket

gumption

gumptious

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Last Updated

1 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gumption.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gumption. Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for gumption

gumption

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gumption

: courage and confidence

gumption

noun
gump·​tion | \ ˈgəmp-shən How to pronounce gumption (audio) \

Kids Definition of gumption

More from Merriam-Webster on gumption

Nglish: Translation of gumption for Spanish Speakers

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