[ geym ]
See synonyms for: gamegamedgamergames on

  1. an amusement or pastime: children's games.

  2. the material or equipment used in playing certain games: The store started selling toys and games.

  1. 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: Flag football is a game growing in popularity.

  2. 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.

  3. the number of points required to win a game.

  4. the score at a particular stage in a game: With five minutes to play, the game was 7 to 0.

  5. a particular manner or style of playing a game: Her game of chess is improving.

  6. anything resembling a game, as in requiring skill, endurance, or adherence to rules: She's an expert at the game of diplomacy.

  7. a trick or strategy: They can see through your game.

  8. something treated lightly or lacking in seriousness; sport: That's enough of your games! When I was young, love was just a game to me.

  9. wild animals, including birds and fishes, such as those hunted for food or taken for sport or profit: The area is particularly rich in game.

  10. the flesh of such wild animals, used as food: The cook made a dish of game.

  11. any object of pursuit, attack, abuse, etc.: The new boy at school seemed to be fair game for practical jokers.

  12. Informal. a business or profession: He's in the real-estate game.

  13. Informal. the ability to attract or charm romantic or sexual partners: He's got no game—hasn't had a date in months.

  14. Archaic. fighting spirit; pluck.

adjective,gam·er, gam·est.
  1. relating to or composed of animals hunted or taken as game, or to their flesh.

  2. having a fighting spirit; plucky.

  1. 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.
  1. to play games of chance for stakes; gamble.

  2. Digital Technology. to play computer or video games.

verb (used with object),gamed, gam·ing.
  1. to squander in games of chance (usually followed by away).

  2. 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.

Idioms about game

  1. die game,

    • to die after a brave struggle.

    • to remain steadfast or in good spirits at the moment of defeat: He knew that as a candidate he didn't have a chance in the world, but he campaigned anyway and died game.

  2. make game of, to make fun of; ridicule: It's cruel to make game of the weak and defenseless.

  1. off one’s game,

    • Sports. playing badly: You can tell the pitcher's off his game—he's walked three batters in a row.

    • not performing as well as usual: The showrunner and her writers are off their game, and episodes this season drag on without the humor and lightness fans had come to expect.

  2. on one’s game,

    • Sports. playing well: You need to recruit experienced players who will be on their game coming straight off the bench.

    • performing well, or as well as usual: She’s been noticeably sharper and really on her game since she came back from vacation.

  3. play games, to act in an evasive, deceitful, manipulative, or trifling manner in dealing with others: Don't play games with me—I want to know if you love me or not!

  4. play the game, Informal.

    • to act or play in accordance with the rules.

    • to act honorably or justly: We naively assumed that our allies would continue to play the game.

  5. talk a big / good game, to make exaggerated claims or promise extraordinary results: The PR team talks a big game, but revenue for their department has been flat for three years running.

Origin of game

First recorded before 1000; Middle English noun game, gam, gamme “joy; pleasure; sport; hunting,” Old English gaman, gomen; cognate with Old High German gaman “glee”

synonym study For game

See play.

Other words for game

Other words from game

  • game·less, adjective
  • game·like, adjective
  • game·ness, noun
  • un·game·like, adjective

Other definitions for game (2 of 2)

[ geym ]

  1. lame: a game leg.

Origin of game

First recorded in 1775–85; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use game in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for game (1 of 2)


/ (ɡeɪm) /

  1. an amusement or pastime; diversion

  2. a contest with rules, the result being determined by skill, strength, or chance

  1. a single period of play in such a contest, sport, etc

  2. the score needed to win a contest

  3. a single contest in a series; match

  4. (plural; often capital) an event consisting of various sporting contests, esp in athletics: Olympic Games; Highland Games

  5. equipment needed for playing certain games

  6. short for computer game

  7. style or ability in playing a game: he is a keen player but his game is not good

  8. a scheme, proceeding, etc, practised like a game: the game of politics

  9. an activity undertaken in a spirit of levity; joke: marriage is just a game to him

    • wild animals, including birds and fish, hunted for sport, food, or profit

    • (as modifier): game laws

  10. the flesh of such animals, used as food: generally taken not to include fish

  11. an object of pursuit; quarry; prey (esp in the phrase fair game)

  12. informal work or occupation

  13. informal a trick, strategy, or device: I can see through your little game

  14. obsolete pluck or courage; bravery

  15. slang, mainly British prostitution (esp in the phrase on the game)

  16. give the game away to reveal one's intentions or a secret

  17. make game of or make a game of to make fun of; ridicule; mock

  18. off one's game playing badly

  19. on one's game playing well

  20. play the game to behave fairly or in accordance with rules

  21. the game is up there is no longer a chance of success

  1. informal full of fighting spirit; plucky; brave

  2. game as Ned Kelly or as game as Ned Kelly Australian informal extremely brave; indomitable

  1. (usually foll by for) informal prepared or ready; willing: I'm game for a try

  1. (intr) to play games of chance for money, stakes, etc; gamble

Origin of game

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

Derived forms of game

  • gamelike, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for game (2 of 2)


/ (ɡeɪm) /

  1. a less common word for lame 1 game leg

Origin of 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with game


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.