From Scots gumption (“common sense, shrewdness; drive, initiative”); further etymology unknown, possibly connected with Middle English gome (“attention, heed”), from Old Norse gaumr (“attention, heed”). English cognates include gaum (“to comprehend, understand”) and goam (“to recognize, see”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɡʌm(p)ʃ(ə)n/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɡʌmpʃ(ə)n/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Hyphenation: gump‧tion
- (Britain) Common sense, initiative, resourcefulness. [from early 18th c.]
- (US) Boldness of enterprise; aggressiveness or initiative.
- 1936 June 30, Margaret Mitchell, chapter XXXVIII, in Gone with the Wind, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, OCLC 1049770437; republished New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, 1944, OCLC 20350211, page 666:
- "You've got a hard way of looking at things, Scarlett," he said. "But you think Hugh over. You could go far and do worse. I think his honesty and his willingness will outweigh his lack of gumption. Scarlett did not answer, for she did not want to be too rude. But to her mind there were few, if any, qualities that outweighed gumption.
- (US) Energy of body and mind, enthusiasm.
- 1974, Robert M[aynard] Pirsig, chapter 26, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, New York, N.Y.: William Morrow and Company, →ISBN, page 272; republished London: Vintage Books, 2004, →ISBN, page 286:
- A person filled with gumption doesn't sit around dissipating and stewing about things. He's at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what's up the track and meeting it when it comes. That's gumption.