A gambit is a strategic move, often in chess but also in politics or business, where a player sacrifices something up front for future gain.

The noun gambit comes from an Italian word, gambetto, which means “tripping up.” When you make an opening move, offer something, or start a conversation with something that seems self-sacrificing but is really a ploy for greater advantage in the long run, that's a gambit. In chess, a gambit is when you sacrifice a pawn early for better positioning. When you offer to drive the morning carpool, that might be a gambit to get the afternoon shift off.

Definitions of gambit

n a chess move early in the game in which the player sacrifices minor pieces in order to obtain an advantageous position

Type of:
chess move
the act of moving a chess piece

n a strategic maneuver

ploy, stratagem
Type of:
maneuver, manoeuvre, tactical maneuver, tactical manoeuvre
a move made to gain a tactical end

n an opening remark intended to secure an advantage for the speaker

Type of:
comment, input, remark
a statement that expresses a personal opinion or belief or adds information

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.