Etymology
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gambit (n.)

"chess opening in which a pawn or piece is risked for advantage later," 1650s, gambett, from Italian gambetto, literally "a tripping up" (as a trick in wrestling), from gamba "leg," from Late Latin gamba (see gambol (n.)). Applied to chess openings in Spanish in 1561 by Ruy Lopez, who traced it to the Italian word, but the form in Spanish generally was gambito, which led to French gambit, which has influenced the English spelling of the word. Broader sense of "opening move meant to gain advantage" in English is recorded from 1855.

updated on February 09, 2015

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Definitions of gambit from WordNet

gambit (n.)
an opening remark intended to secure an advantage for the speaker;
Synonyms: ploy
gambit (n.)
a maneuver in a game or conversation;
Synonyms: ploy / stratagem
gambit (n.)
a chess move early in the game in which the player sacrifices minor pieces in order to obtain an advantageous position;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.