from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime: party games; word games.
  • n. A competitive activity or sport in which players contend with each other according to a set of rules: the game of basketball; the game of gin rummy.
  • n. A single instance of such an activity: We lost the first game.
  • n. An organized athletic program or contest: track-and-field games; took part in the winter games.
  • n. A period of competition or challenge: It was too late in the game to change the schedule of the project.
  • n. The total number of points required to win a game: One hundred points is game in bridge.
  • n. The score accumulated at any given time in a game: The game is now 14 to 12.
  • n. The equipment needed for playing certain games: packed the children's games in the car.
  • n. A particular style or manner of playing a game: improved my tennis game with practice.
  • n. Informal An active interest or pursuit, especially one involving competitive engagement or adherence to rules: "the way the system operates, the access game, the turf game, the image game” ( Hedrick Smith).
  • n. Informal A business or occupation; a line: the insurance game.
  • n. Informal An illegal activity; a racket.
  • n. Informal Evasive, trifling, or manipulative behavior: wanted a straight answer, not more of their tiresome games.
  • n. Informal A calculated strategy or approach; a scheme: I saw through their game from the very beginning.
  • n. Mathematics A model of a competitive situation that identifies interested parties and stipulates rules governing all aspects of the competition, used in game theory to determine the optimal course of action for an interested party.
  • n. Wild animals, birds, or fish hunted for food or sport.
  • n. The flesh of these animals, eaten as food.
  • n. An object of attack, ridicule, or pursuit: The press considered the candidate's indiscretions to be game.
  • n. Mockery; sport: The older children teased and made game of the newcomer.
  • transitive v. Archaic To waste or lose by gambling.
  • intransitive v. To play for stakes; gamble.
  • adj. Plucky and unyielding in spirit; resolute: She put up a game fight against her detractors.
  • adj. Ready and willing: Are you game for a swim?
  • idiom ahead of the game In a position of advantage; winning or succeeding.
  • idiom the only game in town Informal The only one of its kind available: "He's the only game in town for the press to write about” ( Leonard Garment).
  • adj. Crippled; lame: a game leg.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pursuit or activity with rules performed either alone or with others, for the purpose of entertainment. In many games, the objective is to win by defeating the other player or players or being the first to reach a specified goal, while in others, role-playing or cooperation is emphasized.
  • n. A contest between two individuals or teams. A game may refer to the entire encounter between the two (e.g. a basketball game), or to just one contest of several required to win (e.g. a tennis game).
  • n. An exercise simulating warfare for the purpose of training personnel, testing combat readiness, or to better understand various possible outcomes of various strategies or tactics. The exercise may involve human participants, or it may be simulated, often with the aid of computers.
  • n. Wild animals hunted for food.
  • n. A field of gainful activity, as an industry or profession.
  • n. The ability to successfully seduce someone into a romantic or sexual relationship, usually achieved by pre-meditated strategy.
  • n. One or more questionable, unethical, or illegal practices.
  • adj. Willing to participate.
  • adj. An animal that shows a tendency to continue to fight against another animal, despite being wounded, often severely.
  • adj. Persistent, especially in senses similar to the above.
  • adj. Injured, lame (of a limb).
  • v. To gamble.
  • v. To play games and be a gamer.
  • v. 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.
  • v. To perform premeditated seduction strategy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Crooked; lame.
  • adj. Having a resolute, unyielding spirit, like the gamecock; ready to fight to the last; plucky.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to such animals as are hunted for game, or to the act or practice of hunting.
  • n. Sport of any kind; jest, frolic.
  • n. A contest, physical or mental, according to certain rules, for amusement, recreation, or for winning a stake
  • n. The use or practice of such a game; a single match at play; a single contest.
  • n. That which is gained, as the stake in a game; also, the number of points necessary to be scored in order to win a game.
  • n. In some games, a point credited on the score to the player whose cards counts up the highest.
  • n. A scheme or art employed in the pursuit of an object or purpose; method of procedure; projected line of operations; plan; project.
  • n. Animals pursued and taken by sportsmen; wild meats designed for, or served at, table.
  • intransitive v. To rejoice; to be pleased; -- often used, in Old English, impersonally with dative.
  • intransitive v. To play at any sport or diversion.
  • intransitive v. To play for a stake or prize; to use cards, dice, billiards, or other instruments, according to certain rules, with a view to win money or some other thing waged upon the issue of the contest; to gamble.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Mirth; amusement; play; sport of any kind; joke; jest, as opposed to earnest: as, to make game of a person, or of his pretensions or actions (now the chief use of the word in this sense). See to make game of, below.
  • n. A play or sport for amusement or diversion.
  • n. A contest for success or superiority in a trial of chance, skill, or endurance, or of any two or all three of these combined: as, a game at cards, dice, or roulette; the games of billiards, draughts, and dominoes; athletic games; the Floral games.
  • n. The art or mode of playing at a game: as, he plays a remarkable game.
  • n. The successful result of a game, or that which is staked on the result: as, the game is ours.
  • n. The requisite number of points or advantages to be gained in order to win a game: as, in cribbage 61 is game or the game.
  • n. A scheme; plan; project; artifice.
  • n. Amorous sport; gallantry; intrigue.
  • n. Sport in the field; field-sports, as the chase, falconry, etc.
  • n. That which is pursued or taken in hunting; the spoil of the chase; quarry; prey.
  • n. Collectively, animals of the chase; those wild animals that are pursued or taken for sport or profit, in hunting, trapping, fowling, or fishing; specifically, the animals useful to man, and whose preservation is therefore desirable, which are enumerated under this designation in the game-laws regulating their pursuit.
  • n. A game-fowl or game-cock. See phrases below.
  • n. A flock: said of swans.
  • n. The scheme has failed; all is at an end.
  • Of or belonging to such animals as are hunted as game: as, game animals; a game pie.
  • Having a plucky spirit, like that of a game-cock; courageous; unyielding: as, to die game.
  • Having the spirit or will to do something; equal to some adventure or exploit: as, are you game for a run or a swim?
  • To play at any sport or diversion.
  • To gamble; play for a stake, prize, or wager with cards, dice, balls, etc., according to certain rules. See gaming.
  • To be glad; rejoice; receive pleasure: sometimes used impersonally with the dative.
  • To stake or lose at play; gamble (away).
  • Crooked; lame: as, a game leg.
  • n. Specifically— A part of a rubber. The victors in two games out of three win the rubber.
  • n. One of the points to be scored in all-fours, as high, low, jack, and the game.
  • n. The number of players necessary, or required by the rules, for playing a game; a ‘set.’
  • n. In old archery, a meeting or public competition of archers.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. animal hunted for food or sport
  • v. place a bet on
  • n. a secret scheme to do something (especially something underhand or illegal)
  • n. frivolous or trifling behavior
  • n. your occupation or line of work
  • n. a contest with rules to determine a winner
  • n. the flesh of wild animals that is used for food
  • n. an amusement or pastime
  • n. (games) the score at a particular point or the score needed to win
  • n. (tennis) a division of play during which one player serves
  • n. a single play of a sport or other contest
  • adj. willing to face danger
  • n. the game equipment needed in order to play a particular game
  • adj. disabled in the feet or legs


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English gamen.
Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


  • • Follow the Guardian's World Cup team on Twitter• Sign up to play our great Fantasy Football game• Stats centre: Get the lowdown on every player• The latest team-by-team news, features and moreThe political situation, of course, amplified every emotion around that game; as civil war approached it was clear that that this wasn't just another chance, but Red Star's last chance.

    World Cup 2010: Serbia battle their own demons

  • And we realize that the ability to see the whole game, both sides at once, is stopping the game~ and we are suddenly free.


  • This game is sold *for the purpose of playing this game*.

    Marvel & NCSoft Update

  • -- Because when the sale of game was permitted one dealer was able to sell 1,000,000 _game birds per year in New York City_, so he himself said.

    Our Vanishing Wild Life Its Extermination and Preservation

  • **Click on the game titles to read Kotaku's full review for each game**


  • Individual photo and Jr. Sea Gal team photo (taken on 8 / 15) 2 game tickets for the 8 / 22 preseason game*


  • FIFA 10 as well as the development of FIFA 10 Ultimate Team, a game mode expansion and new way of playing FIFA 10, the highest rated sports game* ever on the Xbox 360. - HOME PAGE

  • And you might be surprised to find out that every major Mario game (with the exception of Super Mario Bros. 2, the black sheep of the family thanks to it not really being a Mario game*) was scored by the same man - the inexhaustible Koji Kondo.

    mental_floss Blog

  • • Follow the Guardian's World Cup team on Twitter• Sign up to play our daily Fantasy Football game• Stats centre: Get the lowdown on every player• The latest team-by-team news, features and more "Every game we start," said Van Persie, "there is a really nice belief that we will score.

    World Cup 2010: Slovakia stand in the way of hopeful Holland

  • [Illustration: "'Suppose we have a story-telling game'"] "Well, I daresay I shall begin to remember about her presently; but suppose, children, we have a _story-telling game_.

    Milly and Olly


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A handful of Texas utility companies, led by TXU Corp., are gaming the state's electricity market, using the same types of schemes exposed in the California and Enron crises to reap windfall profits at the expense of Texas consumers and smaller competitors, according to Texas Commercial Energy (TCE).

    Business Wire, 3 Feb. 2004

    It's that verb again.

    July 7, 2009

  • For me, a slightly novel verbal use of game occurs in the following.

    "Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) saw the problem: 'We have found ourselves dependent on profit-oriented companies for even the day-to-day basics of feeding and housing our troops, and for carrying out a myriad of other functions of the mission, including security. These kinds of contracts opened the door for every manager to game the system in order to maximize profits.'"

    - Frida Berrigan, 'The Pentagon Legacy of the MBA President', 14 September 2008.

    September 15, 2008

  • I do go to that site from time to time--and it was completely addictive for the first few days. (Can addictions wear off that quickly?) Thanks for the reminder, frindley!

    March 24, 2008

  • As seen on the Wordie blog, in fact, so maybe your plea won't be all that effective. Or then again it might be the reminder that sends us all scurrying back there...

    March 23, 2008

  • A simple online game that could keep a wordie amused for hours, and which might be a good deal more interesting if more wordies were playing it. Check out Human Brain Cloud here:

    March 23, 2008

  • There is also "Ender's Game", a much-lauded science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card.

    March 7, 2008

  • The Game is also a wonderful book by Diana Wynne Jones.

    March 4, 2008

  • My son recently told me about a game that he and his friends call "The Game." The only rule is that if you think about the game, you lose. You're supposed to say "Oh crap" (or something appropriately similar depending on your surroundings) when this occurs, and everyone is on the honor system.

    March 4, 2008

  • The same question has bothered me as I've cheated my way to victory on various simulation games - or, as a child, at patience.

    I think it just reverts to definition #1 above, a pastime.

    January 5, 2008

  • I have a large collection of computer games that I play regularly, (the PC variety not the shiny expensive console variety) but there has always been a certain aspect of "gaming" that has bothered me. describes a game as 1."An amusement or pastime". or 2. "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".

    In computer games it is an accepted practice that when you get "stuck" you can cheat your way out of your situation if you know the proper arcane commands. Game developers build cheat codes into the game to give it's players the ability to "play God", for example, and take no damage, such as from a hail of bullets that would otherwise call up the "you have died" screen.

    If I define a PC game as in the second definition above (because they do have rules and involve skill) and take away the elements of skill and chance by cheating, am I still playing a "game"? What do you call a game that is not a game?

    January 5, 2008