Chess. an opening in which a player seeks to obtain some advantage by sacrificing a pawn or piece.
any maneuver by which one seeks to gain an advantage.
a remark made to open or redirect a conversation.

1650–60; < French < Spanish gambito or Italian gambetto (akin to Old French gambet, jambet), equivalent to gamb(a) leg + -etta -et

gambit, gamut, gantlet, gauntlet.

2. ploy, stratagem, scheme, ruse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gambit (ˈɡæmbɪt)
1.  chess an opening move in which a chessman, usually a pawn, is sacrificed to secure an advantageous position
2.  an opening comment, manoeuvre, etc, intended to secure an advantage or promote a point of view
[C17: from French, from Italian gambetto a tripping up, from gamba leg]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"chess opening in which a pawn is risked for advantage later," 1656, gambett, from It. gambetto, lit. "a tripping up" (as a trick in wrestling), from gamba "leg," from L.L. gamba (see gambol). Applied to chess openings in Sp. in 1561 by Ruy Lopez, who traced it to the It.
word, but the form in Sp. was generally gambito which led to Fr. gambit, which has infl. the Eng. spelling of the word. Broader sense of "opening move meant to gain advantage" is first recorded in Eng. 1855.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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