from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To bet on an uncertain outcome, as of a contest.
  • intransitive v. To play a game of chance for stakes.
  • intransitive v. To take a risk in the hope of gaining an advantage or a benefit.
  • intransitive v. To engage in reckless or hazardous behavior: You are gambling with your health by continuing to smoke.
  • transitive v. To put up as a stake in gambling; wager.
  • transitive v. To expose to hazard; risk: gambled their lives in a dangerous rescue mission.
  • n. A bet, wager, or other gambling venture.
  • n. An act or undertaking of uncertain outcome; a risk: I took a gamble that stock prices would rise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A significant risk, undertaken with a potential gain.
  • n. A risky venture
  • v. To take a risk, with the potential of a positive outcome.
  • v. To play risky games, especially casino games, for monetary gain.
  • v. To risk (something) for potential gain.
  • v. To interact with equipment at a casino

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An act of gambling; a transaction or proceeding involving gambling; hence, anything involving similar risk or uncertainty.
  • intransitive v. To play or game for money or other stake.
  • transitive v. To lose or squander by gaming; -- usually with away.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To play at any game of hazard for a stake; risk money or anything of value on the issue of a game of chance, by either playing or betting on the play of others; hence, to engage in financial transactions or speculations dependent for success chiefly upon chance or unknown contingencies: as, to gamble with cards or dice; to gamble in stocks.
  • Gambling contract. See contract.
  • To lose or squander by gaming: with away or off.
  • n. A venture in gambling or as in gambling; a reckless speculation.
  • n. A leg.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. play games for money
  • n. money that is risked for possible monetary gain
  • v. take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome
  • n. a risky act or venture


Perhaps from obsolete gamel, to play games, from Middle English gamen, gamenen, to play, from Old English gamenian, from gamen, fun.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English gamenian 'to play', either via a dialectal survival of Middle English gammlen, a variant of gamenen 'to play, jest, be merry', or via a derivative of gamel 'to play games' (Wiktionary)



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