to play at any game of chance for money or other stakes.
to stake or risk money, or anything of value, on the outcome of something involving chance:
to gamble on a toss of the dice.
to lose or squander by betting (usually followed by away):
He gambled all his hard-earned money away in one night.
to wager or risk (money or something else of value):
to gamble one’s freedom.
to take a chance on; venture; risk:
I’m gambling that our new store will be a success.
any matter or thing involving risk or hazardous uncertainty.
a venture in a game of chance for stakes, especially for high stakes.
Contemporary Examples

But this gamble may turn out to be just as big a loser as have all the hopes that Kabul has placed on prisoner releases so far.
Freed Taliban Prisoners in Pakistan and Afghanistan Return to Jihad Ron Moreau & Sami Yousafzai December 5, 2013

And it has a mutually advantageous peace treaty with Israel that no rational government is going to gamble with.
Hamas’ Disappointment With Morsi Justin Green March 10, 2013

“Sometimes when you gamble, you get up from the table with a fortune,” he explains.
Can Celine Dion Save Vegas? Tony Doukopil, Ramin Setoodeh March 12, 2011

Or he could take the gamble that Obama will give his team a pass.
Will Obama Prosecute Bush’s Team For Torture? Scott Horton November 30, 2008

Procter gamble has set up a “Home Away From Home” zone in Olympic Village specifically for Olympic moms.
Olympic Moms Steal the Show at London 2012 Rebecca Dana July 30, 2012

Historical Examples

The music made him half-mad, and then he had friends who taught him to gamble.
The Halo Bettina von Hutten

Nevertheless, Mr. Jannissary was prepared to gamble on John’s future.
The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine

You can’t dance down and drink down and gamble down and lust down a man like that.
The Heart’s Kingdom Maria Thompson Daviess

You have come to gamble, and your gambling is attended by every form of intemperance and immorality.
The Christian Hall Caine

They work very hard and the air is bad; they come up to sleep, to eat and to gamble.
Castellinaria Henry Festing Jones

(intransitive) to play games of chance to win money
to risk or bet (money) on the outcome of an event, sport, etc
(intransitive) often foll by on. to act with the expectation of: to gamble on its being a sunny day
(often foll by away) to lose by or as if by betting; squander
a risky act or venture
a bet, wager, or other risk or chance taken for possible monetary gain

1726 (implied in gambling), from a dialectal survival of Middle English gammlen, variant of gamenen “to play, jest, be merry,” from Old English gamenian “to play, joke, pun,” from gamen (see game). Or possibly gamble is from a derivative of gamel “to play games” (1590s), itself likely a frequentative from game. Originally regarded as a slang word. The intrusive -b- may be from confusion with gambol. Related: Gambled; gambling.

“risky venture,” 1823, from gamble (v.).


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