Posted by: Jack Henry | August 9, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Gamut, Gambit, and Gambino

Today’s item is about two words that are spelled similarly and are often confused: gamut and gambit. From the Grammarist:

Gamut refers to the full scope of something, the entire range of something. Gamut also has a musical definition. In medieval musical terms, gamut is the range of notes on the scale that covers the nearly three octaves starting from bass G through treble E. The word gamut is derived from the Greek letter gamma and the Latin word ut signifying the bass G note.

KC – The play took me through a gamut of emotions—joyful, depressed, angry, afraid, and fulfilled.

A gambit is a risky opening action or comment that is designed to put one at an advantage. The word gambit is derived from the Italian word gambetto which means tripping up. [KC – Gambetto, not Gambino! See below.] Originally, the word gambit was first used to describe an opening move in the game of chess where a pawn is sacrificed in order to gain a more advantageous position on the chessboard. By 1855, the word gambit moved into mainstream English to mean any risky, opening action or comment.

KC – Juniper’s opening gambit in the union negotiations was to ask for better health care coverage; she wanted to start with the most important item first.

Carlo “Don Carlo” Gambino

Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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