from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime.
  • noun A competitive activity or sport in which players contend with each other according to a set of rules.
  • noun A single instance of such an activity.
  • noun An organized athletic program or contest.
  • noun A period of competition or challenge.
  • noun The total number of points required to win a game.
  • noun The score accumulated at any given time in a game.
  • noun The equipment needed for playing certain games.
  • noun A particular style or manner of playing a game.
  • noun An active interest or pursuit, especially one involving competitive engagement or adherence to rules.
  • noun A business or occupation; a line.
  • noun An illegal activity; a racket.
  • noun Evasive, trifling, or manipulative behavior.
  • noun A calculated strategy or approach; a scheme.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Wild mammals, birds, or fish hunted for food or sport.
  • noun The flesh of these animals, eaten as food.
  • noun An object of attack, ridicule, or pursuit.
  • noun Mockery; sport.
  • intransitive verb To manipulate dishonestly for personal gain; rig.
  • intransitive verb To play for stakes; gamble.
  • adjective Plucky and unyielding in spirit; resolute.
  • adjective Ready and willing.
  • idiom (ahead of the game) In a position of advantage; winning or succeeding.
  • idiom (be on (one's) game) To play a sport with great skill.
  • idiom (the only game in town) The only one of its kind available.
  • adjective Crippled; lame.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun Specifically— A part of a rubber. The victors in two games out of three win the rubber.
  • noun One of the points to be scored in all-fours, as high, low, jack, and the game.
  • noun The number of players necessary, or required by the rules, for playing a game; a ‘set.’
  • noun In old archery, a meeting or public competition of archers.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A play or sport for amusement or diversion.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The art or mode of playing at a game: as, he plays a remarkable game.
  • noun The successful result of a game, or that which is staked on the result: as, the game is ours.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A scheme; plan; project; artifice.
  • noun Amorous sport; gallantry; intrigue.


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

[Middle English, from Old English gamen.]

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

[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.


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  • • 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 2010

  • 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 2005

  • -- 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 William Temple Hornaday 1895

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

    Gizmodo Casey Chan 2010

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

    unknown title 2009

  • 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 2009

  • 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 Streeter Seidell 2008

  • • 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 2010

  • [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 Humphry Ward 1885


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  • 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

  • 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

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

    March 4, 2008

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

    March 7, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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