"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[guhmp-shuh n] /ˈgʌmp ʃən/
noun, Informal.
initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness:
With his gumption he'll make a success of himself.
courage; spunk; guts:
It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job.
common sense; shrewdness.
Origin of gumption
1710-20; orig. Scots
Related forms
gumptionless, adjective
gumptious, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gumption
  • Governments have not the gumption to constrain civil service costs.
  • In old Hollywood, they called it gumption or moxie.
  • He wished there was some way he could inject a shot of spirit and gumption into his father.
  • He has more gumption.
  • Imagine the gumption it took the first trainer to pull this off.
  • Fortunately, she finds recipes and much-needed gumption to prove herself.
  • There's where guts and gumption come in.
  • Despite gumption and a sports-utility vehicle, massive flooding from recent storms prevents us from reaching it.
  • Leaders have to show a lot more foresight, leadership and gumption than we have seen so far.
  • Yet both allies and opponents alike believe he has neither the gumption nor the authority forcefully to push for these goals.
British Dictionary definitions for gumption


noun (informal)
(Brit) common sense or resourcefulness
initiative or courage: you haven't the gumption to try
Word Origin
C18: originally Scottish, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gumption

1719, originally Scottish, "common sense, shrewdness," also "drive, initiative," possibly connected with Middle English gome "attention, heed," from Old Norse gaumr "heed, attention." Sense of "initiative" is first recorded 1812.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gumption



Initiative; enterprise; courage; spunk (1831+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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