Definition of gumption in English:



  • Shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness.

    ‘she had the gumption to put her foot down and head Dan off from those crazy schemes’
    • ‘I have known people well into their 70s who have more character and gumption than people a quarter of their years.’
    • ‘So beyond greed and gumption is opportunism, optimism… and some great success stories!’
    • ‘I was a feckless young man, without direction, commonsense, or gumption.’
    • ‘All it would take is a bit of gumption and a modicum of courage.’
    • ‘But if the migrants bike from a poor country to our rich one, they are demonstrating not British gumption but foreign deviousness.’
    • ‘Unbridled teenage gumption as practiced in the U.S., it seems, is the answer to all problems.’
    • ‘He should take enormous pride that his enthusiasm and gumption have turned Motherwell around in recent years.’
    • ‘It's about time someone outside the Religious Right got some media savvy and gumption.’
    • ‘Take a minute to deliver some well deserved applause for this kid, whose gumption we should all long to emulate.’
    • ‘If Croydon Council hasn't got an accountant in its ranks or a commercially-minded businessman with a sense of gumption, I can provide one.’
    • ‘And then, if you have the imagination and gumption, you can stop just being at the receiving end of news.’
    • ‘They played with the spirit and gumption that made them world champions, resisting all temptation to throw in the towel or play for outright draws.’
    • ‘Since then, despite showing terrific gumption to answer all the questions asked of them, they have not played teams of this calibre.’
    • ‘Again, we are seeing nothing unusual here, except perhaps gumption.’
    • ‘It sure takes some gumption to assemble a flatpack yacht.’
    • ‘I imagine the endless nights of winter and reflect on the strength and gumption required to survive in the dark and the cold.’
    • ‘He has crossed the line, and we've got to have enough and gumption to stand up and say enough's enough.’
    • ‘How much gumption does it take to pillory the malfeasant editors, reporters, and publisher who turned to compost ages ago?’
    • ‘Working this out at home will permit you to schedule around it, and will give you enough gumption to face the chaos at the festival theatres.’
    • ‘That took gumption, not to mention good ole-fashioned American Ingenuity.’
    initiative, resourcefulness, enterprise, imagination, imaginativeness, ingenuity, inventiveness
    cleverness, astuteness, shrewdness, acumen, discernment, understanding, reason, wisdom, sagacity, sense, common sense, wit, mother wit, native wit, native ability, practicality
    spirit, forcefulness, backbone, pluck, mettle, nerve, courage
    get-up-and-go, grit, spunk, oomph, nous, savvy, horse sense
    loaf, common
    View synonyms


Early 18th century (originally Scots): of unknown origin.