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 common sense. American English speakers adopted the word and took it in a new direction, using it refer to the kind of courage or get-up-and-go that makes undertaking difficult things possible. Artists may know the word with another application: it's also used to refer to the art of preparing painters' colors.
"When fatigue began to take over his body and his legs started to quake, LaDonna had the gumption to throw his best fastball of the day." — Gregg Sarra, Newsday (New York), 29 May 2018
"Negotiating salary increases requires finesse, timing and being informed. It also requires a certain measure of gumption." — The Laramie (Wyoming) Boomerang, 10 June 2018
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