• Game


    • AHD: /gām/
    • IPA: /É¡eɪm/
    • Rhymes: -eɪm


    From Middle English game, gamen, gammen, from Old English gamen ("sport, joy, mirth, pastime, game, amusement, pleasure"), from Proto-Germanic *gamanÄ… ("amusement, pleasure, game", literally "participation, communion, people together"), from *ga- + *mann- ("man"), equivalent to - + man; or alternatively from *ga- + a root from Proto-Indo-European *men- ("to think, have in mind"), equivalent to - + mind. Cognate with Middle High German gamen ("joy, amusement, fun, pleasure"), Swedish gamman ("mirth, rejoicing, merriment"), Icelandic gaman ("fun"). Related to gammon, gamble.

    Full definition of game



    (countable and uncountable; plural games)
    1. A playful or competitive activity.
      1. A playful activity that may be unstructured; an amusement or pastime.
        Being a child is all fun and games.
      2. (countable) An activity described by a set of rules, especially for the purpose of entertainment, often competitive or having an explicit goal.
        Games in the classroom can make learning fun.
        • 1983, Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes, and Walon Green, WarGames, MGM/UA Entertainment Co.:Joshua: Shall we play a game?
      3. (countable) A particular instance of playing a game; match.
        Sally won the game.
        They can turn the game around in the second half.
        • 1908, W. B. M. Ferguson, Zollenstein Chapter 1, “I'm through with all pawn-games,” I laughed. “Come, let us have a game of lansquenet. Either I will take a farewell fall out of you or you will have your sevenfold revenge”.
      4. That which is gained, such as the stake in a game.
      5. The number of points necessary to win a game.
        In short whist, five points are game.
      6. (card games) In some games, a point awarded to the player whose cards add up to the largest sum.
      7. (countable) The equipment that enables such activity, particularly as packaged under a title.
        Some of the games in the closet we have on the computer as well.
      8. One's manner, style, or performance in playing a game.
        Study can help your game of chess.
        Hit the gym if you want to toughen up your game.
      9. (countable, informal, nearly always singular) A field of gainful activity, as an industry or profession.
        When it comes to making sales, John is the best in the game.
        He's in the securities game somehow.
      10. (countable, figuratively) Something that resembles a game with rules, despite not being designed.
        In the game of life, you may find yourself playing the waiting game far too often.
        • Shakespeare Henry 5|ThirdI see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start. The game’s afoot!
        • 1908, W. B. M. Ferguson, Zollenstein Chapter 1, “I'm through with all pawn-games,” I laughed. “Come, let us have a game of lansquenet. Either I will take a farewell fall out of you or you will have your sevenfold revenge”.
        • 2013-07-19, Timothy Garton Ash, Where Dr Pangloss meets Machiavelli, Hidden behind thickets of acronyms and gorse bushes of detail, a new great game is under way across the globe. Some call it geoeconomics, but it's geopolitics too.
      11. (countable, military) An exercise simulating warfare, whether computerized or involving human participants.
      12. (uncountable) Wild animals hunted for food.
        The forest has plenty of game.
      13. (uncountable, informal, used mostly of males) The ability to seduce someone, usually by strategy.
        He didn't get anywhere with her because he had no game.
      14. (countable) A questionable or unethical practice in pursuit of a goal; a scheme.
        You want to borrow my credit card for a week? What's your game?
        • Blackwood MagazineYour murderous game is nearly up.
        • George Saintsbury (1845-1933)It was obviously Lord Macaulay's game to blacken the greatest literary champion of the cause he had set himself to attack.





    1. (colloquial) Willing to participate.
    2. (of an animal) That shows a tendency to continue to fight against another animal, despite being wounded, often severely.
    3. Persistent, especially in senses similar to the above.
    4. Injured, lame (of a limb).
      • around 1900, O. Henry, You come with me and we'll have a cozy dinner and a pleasant talk together, and by that time your game ankle will carry you home very nicely, I am sure."




    1. (intransitive) To gamble.
    2. (intransitive) To play games and be a gamer.
    3. (transitive) To exploit loopholes in a system or bureaucracy in a way which defeats or nullifies the spirit of the rules in effect, usually to obtain a result which otherwise would be unobtainable.We'll bury them in paperwork, and game the system.
    4. (transitive, slang, of males) To perform premeditated seduction strategy.
      • 2005, "Picking up the pieces", The Economist, 6 October 2005:Returning briefly to his journalistic persona to interview Britney Spears, he finds himself gaming her, and she gives him her phone number.
      • 2010, Mystery, The Pickup Artist: The New and Improved Art of Seduction, Villard Books (2010), ISBN 9780345518217, page 100:A business associate of mine at the time, George Wu, sat across the way, gaming a stripper the way I taught him.
      • 2010, Sheila McClear, "Would you date a pickup artist?", New York Post, 9 July 2010:How did Amanda know she wasn’t getting gamed? Well, she didn’t. “I would wonder, ‘Is he saying stuff to other girls that he says to me?’ We did everything we could to cut it off . . . yet we somehow couldn’t.”

    Derived terms


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