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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Words of the day — gambit

Good evening, Netizens...

January 28, 2013

Word of the Day

  • gambit
  • audio pronunciation
  • \GAM-bit\


: a chess opening in which a player risks minor pieces to gain an advantage
: a remark intended to start a conversation
: a calculated move

Mentioning that he had nothing to do on Saturday night was an obvious gambit by Miles to get invited to Donna's party.

"Square's gift card gambit is its latest stab at separating itself from a crowded field of competitors, including PayPal, Google, Intuit and Groupon." — From an article by Jon Swartz in USA Today, December 10, 2012


In 1656, a chess handbook was published that was said to have almost a hundred illustrated "gambetts." That early spelling of "gambit" is close to the Italian word, "gambetto," from which it is derived. "Gambetto" was used for an act of tripping—especially one that gave an advantage, as in wrestling. The original chess gambit is an opening in which a bishop's pawn is sacrificed to gain some advantage, but the name is now applied to many other chess openings. After being pinned down to chess for about two centuries, "gambit" finally broke free of the hold and showed itself to be a legitimate contender in the English language by weighing in with other meanings.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.