Definition of gamble in English:



  • 1Play games of chance for money; bet.

    ‘he gambles on football’
    • ‘The lottery comes as the Cabinet plans for a new lottery for gambling on professional baseball and billiards.’
    • ‘It is easy to gamble impulsively online.’
    • ‘Police were also aware that the victim was addicted to gambling on football, and there was an extra issue of a love affair.’
    • ‘Approximately 85 percent of American adults report having gambled at some point in their lives, and about 60 percent say they've gambled at least once in the past year.’
    • ‘Like a participant in a high-stakes poker game, she gambled big and she lost big.’
    • ‘One aspect of gambling that few people are aware of is that about one in five New Zealanders who regularly gamble on gaming machines have a gambling problem.’
    • ‘Her eldest of three sons had died in a motorcycle accident, and she'd started gambling on the pokies.’
    • ‘In the simpler game, the player gambles with a coin that's been loaded to make the probability of winning less than 50 percent.’
    • ‘An exhaustive study convinced everyone except he that he had gambled on the game, gambled on the Reds and violated the only unbreakable moral code of the sport.’
    • ‘The probability of winning lottery prizes are the basic risk dimensions that may help determine whether a person gambles on a particular activity in the first place.’
    • ‘This book offers a concise and to-the-point directory for anyone who gambles on the Internet or is interested in gambling on the Internet.’
    • ‘The sunny forecast came as spread betting firm Cantor Index offered the chance to gamble on the number of hours of sunshine and inches of rainfall in individual months.’
    • ‘Gambling does, and any player who gambles on baseball or sits with those who conspire to do so risks destroying the very foundation on which the game is built.’
    • ‘Kids and teenagers have always gambled, whether at marbles or flipping baseball cards.’
    • ‘The number of Americans who gambled online doubled to about 4% of the population in 2005.’
    • ‘Lisa accurately predicts the winners of sporting events that Homer gambles on so she can be closer to her father.’
    • ‘Cricket Australia has banned gambling on all types of cricket matches by its players, officials and other employees.’
    • ‘A woman accused of leaving her five-year-old child alone in a car overnight Monday while she gambled at a Placer County casino is being booked on felony child endangerment charges.’
    • ‘Appropriately for the son of a bookie, his career has often been about gambling on a long game.’
    • ‘They milled about, some slept, some ate, others played cards or gambled on games of dice.’
    bet, wager, place a bet, lay a bet, stake money on something, back the horses, try one's luck on the horses
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    1. 1.1[with object]Bet (a sum of money)
      ‘they gambled their money on cards’
      • ‘Find out plans to create a new investment fund that literally wants to gamble your money.’
      • ‘In the mid-1980s, he gambled his export-quota profits on property and stock.’
      • ‘Ideally the money men want to be able to gamble the pension fund, without being responsible for a fixed pension payment.’
      • ‘When he entices her to elope with him she steals the money necessary for the elopement, only to find that he does not keep his appointment, having gambled the money away.’
      • ‘A family friend, trusted to administer the estates of a widow and her son after they died, stole more than £38,000 and gambled the money away, a court heard.’
      • ‘A Braintree chef claimed he was robbed of £300 takings by three men to hide the fact that he had gambled the money away, a court heard.’
      • ‘A Prime Minister widely recognised as the most powerful in living memory has gambled his reputation, ultimately his leadership of the country and his party, on a bet which is far from the odds-on wagers he is used to.’
      • ‘It was suggested to him that he had gambled the money away on poker machines at the hotel.’
      • ‘Lenore was very upset as she saw Herbert gambling away money she knew wasn't his.’
      • ‘Instead firms are cutting the money they put into pension funds and telling workers to gamble their savings on the stockmarket through private schemes.’
      • ‘While most newcomers who gain admittance to the NBA's lucrative members club pay their dues on court, he instead gambled vast sums that he had yet to earn in the hope of greater long-term fulfilment across the Atlantic.’
      • ‘If they want to gamble their hard earned money away, then they should feel free to do so.’
      • ‘At the last one, he went so far as to say that if people are allowed to gamble their money away at casinos they should be allowed to spend their own money on health care.’
      • ‘He usually gambled sums of money between five and one hundred dollars, bottles of champagne, pairs of boots, or new hats.’
      • ‘Themes at the heart of the proposed reforms are greater competition, more public involvement and emphasising the link between the money gambled by players and the projects that benefit.’
      • ‘I was told they came to gamble their pension checks away every month.’
      • ‘It is this strong belief in luck that leads many to gamble their meagre savings in the hope of becoming rich.’
      • ‘As a result, Herman takes all his money and gambles it on one final hand of cards.’
      • ‘This raises the criticism that he is privatising social security, forcing people to gamble their pensions on the stock market.’
      • ‘Its annual budget was too modest and its financial future too uncertain to gamble big sums on expensive, start-from-scratch studies.’
  • 2Take risky action in the hope of a desired result.

    ‘he was gambling on the success of his satellite TV channel’
    • ‘In the first race he gambled on dry tyres on a damp track in the hope that conditions would improve.’
    • ‘Peter is gambling on the fact that he will head straight on up the track.’
    • ‘Squeezed by rivals in their own market, British media moguls are gambling on winning new sales here.’
    • ‘At the same time, the guy in charge of your mortgage was gambling on growth every year, too.’
    • ‘There are no glamorous high-tech stocks, even though it is always tempting as an investor to gamble on risky firms, he writes.’
    • ‘Both, he reckons, are houses where we gamble for high stakes, and with high hopes.’
    • ‘He has gambled on a team that he hopes will result in his third general election win.’
    • ‘Partly it is to do with Britain's curious housing market, where people gamble in property futures as a form of investment.’
    • ‘The German government was thus gambling on British neutrality, and in July 1914 this seemed a reasonable bet.’
    • ‘A crushing conquest imposes the attacker's will; limited coercion gambles on the target's weakness of will.’
    • ‘He briefly held the lead after gambling on his final pit stop taking only two tires - but he didn't have enough grip to hold on.’
    • ‘But in practice we wouldn't be able to gamble with the chance that it might not work.’
    • ‘We chose to gamble with the more direct train to Pavonia-Newport, hoping the rain would let up before we got there.’
    • ‘Contending teams with high picks and clubs with multiple first-round picks willing to gamble on him hope that's not all he is.’
    • ‘Investing in CFDs is a highly leveraged way to gamble on stock markets.’
    • ‘Financial speculators, who are gambling on more chaos in the Middle East, are also pushing up prices.’
    • ‘He also invested millions in a new headquarters, and gambled that the party could mount a challenge to the GOP's three decades of dominating fundraising.’
    • ‘Investors began gambling on future returns and more patterns emerged.’
    • ‘Many a small device company has been created because of a momentous idea that may seem too risky for a large or established firm to gamble on.’
    • ‘However, the very success of the risky blitzkrieg approach led the Germans to gamble even more heavily on their next major operation - the invasion of Russia.’
    take a chance, take a risk, take a leap in the dark, leave things to chance, speculate, venture, buy a pig in a poke
    act in the hope of, trust in, take a chance on, bank on
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  • 1An act of gambling.

    ‘Dad likes a bit of a gamble’
    • ‘For one, the gambling game at the end of each stage is made more of a gamble by being able to wager the coins you've collected through a level.’
    • ‘But even with the short payback, such games are almost always a better gamble than the reel slots.’
    • ‘He's extremely talented and has good drive and business sense, but this is a gamble and could leave me in a bit of financial trouble if it fails.’
    • ‘Spread betting is about taking a genuine gamble, and backing your judgement against that of the bookie.’
    • ‘I had a bit of a gamble, and ended up willing about $30, which was a nice change as the machines had been taking my money the last few times I had used them.’
    • ‘He is risk-neutral if he is indifferent between a gamble and certain pay-off equalling the expected value of the gamble.’
    • ‘Then again, the biggest gamble in the UK is, of course, the Lotto.’
    • ‘Long-shot gambles that may tempt you, rarely work out.’
    • ‘He paused and thought about doubling down, but seemed afraid to put out the extra money on such an insecure gamble.’
    • ‘Though many see the stock market as a casino, shares are not a gamble.’
    • ‘On the Friday he landed a major gamble when taking more than £130,000 out of the betting ring.’
    bet, wager, speculation
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  • 2A risky action undertaken with the hope of success.

    ‘we decided to take a gamble and offer him a place on our staff’
    • ‘I took a little bit of a gamble and just tried to go for it.’
    • ‘The money stream was very fresh, and they were willing to take a gamble on buying a house and spending as much or more on a remodel.’
    • ‘Thomas had to persuade his brothers and father to take a gamble in this new trade of distilling, an enterprise they were unsure of.’
    • ‘There is a good chance that the weather will take a turn for the worse and, if it rains, we will be faced with completely different track conditions, which will make Saturday a bit of a gamble for everybody.’
    • ‘It's a bit of a gamble, though, and there's also the question of selling your house after having rented it out for a year, which the experts say is never a great policy.’
    • ‘Considering he was 5th after first qualifying yesterday we took a bit of a gamble on strategy by going for a short first stint.’
    • ‘I don't know if anyone has the guts to take a gamble on building such networks in Europe, or if bureaucracy would get in the way.’
    • ‘It's a bit of a gamble, but I'm going to pull the auction, go to Aberdeen and see whether she'll put a stop to this sham of a wedding and marry me instead.’
    • ‘‘I've been given a bit of responsibility with opening in the Sunday League, which was a bit of a gamble at first,’ he said.’
    • ‘I think it makes it more interesting when it's a bit of a gamble sometimes.’
    • ‘We took a bit of a gamble on our pit strategy because we felt we didn't have anything to lose, and it almost paid off for us.’
    • ‘This is a good time to take a gamble or a quantum leap into unknown territory.’
    • ‘Now you had your first pole position with Toyota at the last race, but be honest with us, was there a little bit of a gamble on low fuel?’
    • ‘It was a bit of a gamble, but they nailed it, and the car was perfect.’
    • ‘Some guests want to know at the time of booking precisely what cabin they will have and others are willing to take a gamble in exchange for an upgrade.’
    • ‘We've obviously taken a bit of a gamble with me wicket-keeping.’
    • ‘If reliability is unknown or unknowable, then they just charge a high premium and take a gamble, hoping to spread a loss to other less-risky areas.’
    • ‘The Bolton-born professional, who has taken a six-year lease on the Kearsley club, admits it's a ‘bit of a gamble.’’
    • ‘I know that interest rates might fall this year, so it's a bit of a gamble to take a fix at this stage, but with three young children, it's so much easier to budget.’
    • ‘I believe it is a profession in which people can do a lot of good and I was prepared to take a gamble with the job.’
    risk, chance, hazard, speculation, venture, random shot, leap in the dark
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Early 18th century: from obsolete gamel play games, or from the verb game.