gumption

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noun gump·tion \ˈgəm(p)-shən\

Definition of gumption

  1. 1 chiefly dialectal :  common sense, horse sense

  2. 2 :  enterprise, initiative lacked the gumption to try

gumption was our Word of the Day on 08/14/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of gumption in a Sentence

  1. It took a lot of gumption to speak up for yourself like that.

  2. that girl has no more gumption than a grasshopper and is likely to marry the first man who comes along

Recent Examples of gumption from the Web

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.

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of gumption

origin unknown


GUMPTION Defined for English Language Learners

gumption

play
noun

Definition of gumption for English Language Learners

  • : courage and confidence


GUMPTION Defined for Kids

gumption

play
noun gump·tion \ˈgəmp-shən\

Definition of gumption for Students

  1. :  courage



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WORD OF THE DAY

lacking social experience or grace

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