Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[gam-bit] /ˈgæm bɪt/
Chess. an opening in which a player seeks to obtain some advantage by sacrificing a pawn or piece.
any maneuver by which one seeks to gain an advantage.
a remark made to open or redirect a conversation.
Origin of gambit
1650-60; < French < Spanish gambito or Italian gambetto (akin to Old French gambet, jambet), equivalent to gamb(a) leg + -etta -et
Can be confused
gambit, gamut, gantlet, gauntlet.
2. ploy, stratagem, scheme, ruse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for gambit
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Widow's gambit was played, and she had not won the game.

    Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • White opens with Queen's pawn to Qu 3, and Black recognizes the gambit.

    Proclaim Liberty! Gilbert Seldes
  • This is one of the oldest systems of defence against the Queen's gambit.

    Chess Fundamentals Jos Ral Capablanca
  • The idea was more than just a gambit to attract Ashe's attention, it was true!

    Key Out of Time Andre Alice Norton
  • It was a little conversational flourish, a gambit in the polite game.

    Crome Yellow Aldous Huxley
British Dictionary definitions for gambit


(chess) an opening move in which a chessman, usually a pawn, is sacrificed to secure an advantageous position
an opening comment, manoeuvre, etc, intended to secure an advantage or promote a point of view
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Italian gambetto a tripping up, from gamba leg
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for gambit

"chess opening in which a pawn is risked for advantage later," 1650s, gambett, from Italian gambetto, literally "a tripping up" (as a trick in wrestling), from gamba "leg," from Late Latin gamba (see gambol). Applied to chess openings in Spanish in 1561 by Ruy Lopez, who traced it to the Italian word, but the form in Spanish generally was gambito, which led to French gambit, which has influenced the English spelling of the word. Broader sense of "opening move meant to gain advantage" in English is recorded from 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for gambit

Word Value for gambit

Scrabble Words With Friends