[guhmp-shuh n]

noun Informal.

initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness: With his gumption he'll make a success of himself.
courage; spunk; guts: It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job.
common sense; shrewdness.

Origin of gumption

1710–20; orig. Scots
Related formsgump·tion·less, adjectivegump·tious, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gumption

Contemporary Examples of gumption

Historical Examples of gumption

  • All we wanted was them needles and a little elbow-grease and gumption.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • If your father'd just had the gumption to hold out, they'd have had to pay him anything he asked.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • There's a lot of stuff in your story that wouldn't be there if you had any gumption.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Beyond all instruments and weapons are his skill, agility, gumption, diplomacy.

  • Do have some gumption, Amy, and cut out the salty-tear business.

    Little Miss Grouch

    Samuel Hopkins Adams

British Dictionary definitions for gumption


noun informal

British common sense or resourcefulness
initiative or courageyou haven't the gumption to try

Word Origin for gumption

C18: originally Scottish, of unknown origin
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

Word Origin and History for gumption

1719, originally Scottish, "common sense, shrewdness," also "drive, initiative," possibly connected with Middle English gome "attention, heed," from Old Norse gaumr "heed, attention." Sense of "initiative" is first recorded 1812.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper