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# zero-sum game

## noun

,

*Mathematics.*- a game in which the sum of the winnings and losses of the various players is always zero, the losses being counted negatively.

zero-sum game

## noun

- (in game theory) a contest in which one person's loss is equal to the other person's gain

zero-sum game

- A game in which the sum of the winnings by all the players is zero. In a zero-sum game, a gain by one player must be matched by a loss by another player. Poker is a zero-sum game if the house does not take a cut as a charge for playing.

zero-sum game

- A game in which the winnings of some players must equal the losses of the others. Zero-sum games are mentioned in a political context when it is believed that resources are limited, and every decision will produce both winners and losers. In such situations, political decisions will be made on the basis of trade-offs between competing interests.

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## Word History and Origins

Origin of zero-sum game^{1}

First recorded in 1940–45

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## Example Sentences

Is it True that “Gays vs. Traditionalists are a Zero-Sum Game”?

From The Daily Beast

Advocates often describe a zero-sum game, in which more of one inevitably means less of the other.

From The Daily Beast

Yet the function of blogging in a big-media context is not a zero-sum game.

From The Daily Beast

But gaining while your opponents are dropping is all you need to win in the zero-sum game.

From The Daily Beast

Jonathan Miller on lessons for Washington from another zero-sum game.

From The Daily Beast

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