mar·​tin·​gale ˈmär-tᵊn-ˌgāl How to pronounce martingale (audio)
: a device for steadying a horse's head or checking its upward movement that typically consists of a strap fastened to the girth, passing between the forelegs, and bifurcating to end in two rings through which the reins pass
: a lower stay of rope or chain for the jibboom used to sustain the strain of the forestays and fastened to or rove through the dolphin striker
: any of several systems of betting in which a player increases the stake usually by doubling each time a bet is lost

Illustration of martingale

Illustration of martingale
  • martingale 1

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But it’s a party in back with a low martingale (a sort of strap) that gives it a gathered look. Marisa Meltzer, New York Times, 11 Jan. 2023 For the test, dogs may wear buckle, slip, or martingale collars with leashes made of fabric webbing or leather, and owners supply a comb or brush. Iris Katz,, 20 Mar. 2021 In a matter of seconds, the martingale could deliver dizzying jackpots or, equally as often, ruination. Frederick Kaufman, The New Yorker, 19 Mar. 2021 Also referred to as a limited- or no-slip collars, a martingale is designed to constrict when a dog pulls on its leash, but never so tightly as to cause harm when properly fitted. Cindy Cantrell,, 12 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'martingale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle French

First Known Use

1584, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of martingale was in 1584

Dictionary Entries Near martingale

Cite this Entry

“Martingale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Standardized Test Words, Vol. 2

  • a pencil broken in half on top of a test answer sheet
  • The business’s new computer system proved not to be a panacea.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?