a person who plays games, especially computer or video games.

Origin of gamer

First recorded in 1610–20; game1 + -er1




an amusement or pastime: children's games.
the material or equipment used in playing certain games: a store selling toys and games.
a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators.
a single occasion of such an activity, or a definite portion of one: the final game of the season; a rubber of three games at bridge.
the number of points required to win a game.
the score at a particular stage in a game: With five minutes to play, the game was 7 to 0.
a particular manner or style of playing a game: Her game of chess is improving.
anything resembling a game, as in requiring skill, endurance, or adherence to rules: the game of diplomacy.
a trick or strategy: to see through someone's game.
fun; sport of any kind; joke: That's about enough of your games.
wild animals, including birds and fishes, such as are hunted for food or taken for sport or profit.
the flesh of such wild animals or other game, used as food: a dish of game.
any object of pursuit, attack, abuse, etc.: The new boy at school seemed to be fair game for practical jokers.
Informal. a business or profession: He's in the real-estate game.
Archaic. fighting spirit; pluck.

adjective, gam·er, gam·est.

pertaining to or composed of animals hunted or taken as game or to their flesh.
having a fighting spirit; plucky.
Informal. having the required spirit or will (often followed by for or an infinitive): Who's game for a hike through the woods?

verb (used without object), gamed, gam·ing.

to play games of chance for stakes; gamble.
to play computer or video games.

verb (used with object), gamed, gam·ing.

to squander in gaming (usually followed by away).
to manipulate to one's advantage, especially by trickery; attempt to take advantage of: The policy is flawed and many people try to game the system.

Origin of game

before 1000; Middle English gamen, Old English gaman; cognate with Old High German gaman glee
Related formsgame·less, adjectivegame·like, adjectivegame·ness, nounun·game·like, adjective

Synonyms for game




lame: a game leg.

Origin of game

1780–90; perhaps shortening of gammy, though change in vowel unclear Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gamer

Contemporary Examples of gamer

Historical Examples of gamer

  • Gamer or better fish than these bream no fisherman could desire.

    Australian Pictures

    Howard Willoughby

  • "My, but you're gamer than ever, Fatty," retorted Barney with admiration.

  • No boy that ever lived was gamer than the little tan-faced cub.

    The Grizzly King

    James Oliver Curwood

  • And never had Duane bestrode a gamer, swifter, stancher beast.

  • "There ain't a gamer old bird in the valley than Pop," Jeff cried.


    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for gamer



a person who plays computer games or participates in a role-playing game




an amusement or pastime; diversion
a contest with rules, the result being determined by skill, strength, or chance
a single period of play in such a contest, sport, etc
the score needed to win a contest
a single contest in a series; match
(plural; often capital) an event consisting of various sporting contests, esp in athleticsOlympic Games; Highland Games
equipment needed for playing certain games
short for computer game
style or ability in playing a gamehe is a keen player but his game is not good
a scheme, proceeding, etc, practised like a gamethe game of politics
an activity undertaken in a spirit of levity; jokemarriage is just a game to him
  1. wild animals, including birds and fish, hunted for sport, food, or profit
  2. (as modifier)game laws
the flesh of such animals, used as food: generally taken not to include fish
an object of pursuit; quarry; prey (esp in the phrase fair game)
informal work or occupation
informal a trick, strategy, or deviceI can see through your little game
obsolete pluck or courage; bravery
slang, mainly British prostitution (esp in the phrase on the game)
give the game away to reveal one's intentions or a secret
make game of or make a game of to make fun of; ridicule; mock
off one's game playing badly
on one's game playing well
play the game to behave fairly or in accordance with rules
the game is up there is no longer a chance of success


informal full of fighting spirit; plucky; brave
game as Ned Kelly or as game as Ned Kelly Australian informal extremely brave; indomitable
(usually foll by for) informal prepared or ready; willingI'm game for a try


(intr) to play games of chance for money, stakes, etc; gamble
Derived Formsgamelike, adjective

Word Origin for game

Old English gamen; related to Old Norse gaman, Old High German gaman amusement




a less common word for lame 1 game leg

Word Origin for game

C18: probably from Irish cam crooked
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

Word Origin and History for gamer

1620s, "an athlete," agent noun from game (v.). Meaning "one devoted to playing video or computer games" is attested from 1999. Gamester is attested from 1590s but meant "prostitute" (cf. old slang the first game ever played "copulation"), later "a man fit and ready for anything, a player" (mid-17c.).



Old English gamen "game, joy, fun, amusement," common Germanic (cf. Old Frisian game "joy, glee," Old Norse gaman, Old Saxon, Old High German gaman "sport, merriment," Danish gamen, Swedish gamman "merriment"), regarded as identical with Gothic gaman "participation, communion," from Proto-Germanic *ga- collective prefix + *mann "person," giving a sense of "people together."

Meaning "contest played according to rules" is first attested c.1300. Sense of "wild animals caught for sport" is late 13c.; hence fair game (1825), also gamey. Game plan is 1941, from U.S. football; game show first attested 1961.



"lame," 1787, from north Midlands dialect, of unknown origin, perhaps a variant of gammy (tramps' slang) "bad," or from Old North French gambe "leg" (see gambol (n.)).



"brave, spirited," 1725, especially in game-cock "bird for fighting," from game (n.). Middle English had gamesome (adj.) "joyful, playful, sportive."



Old English gamenian "to play, jest, joke;" see game (n.). Modern usages probably represent recent formations from the noun. Related: Gamed; gaming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with gamer


In addition to the idioms beginning with game

  • game is not worth the candle, the
  • game is up, the
  • game that two can play, that's a

also see:

  • ahead of the game
  • at this stage (of the game)
  • badger game
  • beat someone at his or her own game
  • call someone's bluff (game)
  • confidence game
  • end game
  • fair game
  • fun and games

give away (the game)losing battle (game)name of the gameonly game in townplay a waiting gameplay gamesplay the gamewaiting gamewhole new ball game.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.