game

1 of 4

noun

1
a(1)
: a physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other
(2)
: a division of a larger contest
(3)
: the manner of playing in a contest
(4)
: a particular aspect or phase of play in a game or sport
a football team's kicking game
(5)
: the set of rules governing a game
(6)
: the number of points necessary to win
(7)
: points scored in certain card games (as in all fours) by a player whose cards count up the highest
b
games plural : organized athletics
c(1)
: a field of gainful activity : line
the newspaper game
(2)
: any activity undertaken or regarded as a contest involving rivalry, strategy, or struggle
the dating game
the game of politics
also : the course or period of such an activity
got into aviation early in the game
(3)
: area of expertise : specialty sense 3
comedy is not my game
2
a(1)
: activity engaged in for diversion or amusement : play
(2)
: the equipment for a game
b
: often derisive or mocking jesting : fun, sport
make game of a nervous player
3
a
: a procedure or strategy for gaining an end : tactic
b
: an illegal or shady scheme or maneuver : racket
4
a(1)
: animals under pursuit or taken in hunting
especially : wild animals hunted for sport or food
(2)
: the flesh of game animals
b
: a target or object especially of ridicule or attack
often used in the phrase fair game
c
archaic : pluck
gamelike adjective

game

2 of 4

adjective (1)

1
a
: willing or ready to proceed
were game for anything
b
: having or showing a resolute unyielding spirit
2
: of or relating to game
game laws
gamely adverb
gameness noun

game

3 of 4

verb

gamed; gaming; games

transitive + intransitive

1
: to manipulate, exploit, or cheat in (a system, a situation, etc.) slyly or dishonestly for personal gain
game the tax system
… a male bus driver who tried to game a drug test by using his wife's urine …Chuck Shepherd
2
: to play video games
Globally [in 2019], more than two billion people play video games, including 150 million Americans (nearly half the country's population), 60 percent of whom game daily.Ferris Jabr
3
: to play for a stake : gamble
Is it the interest of any man to steal, to game, to waste his health and mental faculties by drunkenness …? No. All these are roads to ruin.Charles Dickens
see also gaming
4
archaic : to lose or squander by gambling

game

4 of 4

adjective (2)

: being a body part and especially a limb that is usually permanently impaired in function
Despite his eyeglasses and his game leg, early in 1900 [Erskine] Childers volunteered for the Boer War.Timothy Foote
Working his rifle lever with daunting speed despite his game arm …Ron Soodalter
Choose the Right Synonym for game

fun, jest, sport, game, play mean action or speech that provides amusement or arouses laughter.

fun usually implies laughter or gaiety but may imply merely a lack of serious or ulterior purpose.

played cards just for fun

jest implies lack of earnestness and may suggest a hoaxing or teasing.

hurt by remarks said only in jest

sport applies especially to the arousing of laughter against someone.

teasing begun in sport led to anger

game is close to sport, and often stresses mischievous or malicious fun.

made game of their poor relations

play stresses the opposition to earnest without implying any malice or mischief.

pretended to strangle his brother in play

Examples of game in a Sentence

Noun poker and other gambling games She scored a goal to tie the game. We played a few games of chess. That was a good game! She won the first two games, but lost the set and the match. children playing at their games They are known to play a very rough game. She has a strong all-around game. She needs to improve her game if she wants to win the championship. a football team with a strong running game
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
But for many younger children, iPads and game consoles can consume nearly all their time out of school. Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR, 14 Apr. 2024 The error was not noticed in real time by the teams, the referees, the game clock operator or the stats crew. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2024 Prior to 2021, Arkansas hadn't advanced as far as the Elite Eight since making back-to-back championship game appearances when the Razorbacks beat Duke in 1994 and finished runner-up to UCLA in 1995. Bob Holt, arkansasonline.com, 14 Apr. 2024 The band isn’t above some nonsense, enlisting Paris Hilton and an Abraham Lincoln impersonator to games of Cornhole with fool’s gold for the crowd on the line. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 14 Apr. 2024 His encouragement has helped multiple Royals adjust to the big-league game. Jaylon Thompson, Kansas City Star, 14 Apr. 2024 The Pioneers won 2-1 to move on to Saturday’s championship game. Corey Masisak, The Denver Post, 14 Apr. 2024 The Lakers are eighth in the West, one game ahead of the Kings and Warriors. Jason Anderson, Sacramento Bee, 13 Apr. 2024 Rivera had not yet reported to the club by game time Tuesday and will likely be with them Wednesday. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 3 Apr. 2024
Adjective
Other musical acts slated for Sunday’s big game in Las Vegas include Usher as the halftime show performer, along with pre-game performances from Andra Day, Post Malone and Reba McEntire. Dan Heching, CNN, 8 Feb. 2024 To warm up for Sunday night's wild-card game against the Los Angeles Rams, Gardner White is hosting a free pre-game celebration with football legend and 760 WJR SportsWrap host Lomas Brown and other Detroit football alumni. Kylie Martin, Detroit Free Press, 10 Jan. 2024 The retail giant will announce one new deal via QR code during each quarter of the game, as well as during pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage (seven in total). Rudie Obias, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Nov. 2023 In the film, Lawrence’s character, Maddie, appears fully naked on a beach — and the actor was fully game to do the comedic nude scene. Todd Spangler, Variety, 24 Oct. 2023 Football rewind Narbonne rallied for a 22-21 win over Banning in a game that was marred by a post-game fight. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 9 Oct. 2023 The pair have been seen walking together to interviews on game days and walking the sidelines as part of Sanders' pre-game preparations. Michael King, CBS News, 22 Sep. 2023 Want to make it to the game after your pre-game party like these folks below? Peter Chakerian, cleveland, 9 Sep. 2023 According to the Brewers' roof policies, the club has sole discretion over starting a game with the roof opened or closed, but mid-game changes require consultation with the umpiring crew chief. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 5 July 2023
Verb
In December, Web3 gaming giant Animoca Brands confirmed the company’s commitment to supporting the creator economy and advancing Web3 over the coming year. Victoria Chynoweth, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Note: many of these also work well as gaming chairs. Bethany Braun-Silva, ABC News, 3 Apr. 2024 Another is that litigants can still try to game the system by filing their lawsuits in states from which appeals are heard by circuit courts known to have a particular partisan lean. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2024 More than 8 billion takedown requests, covering everything from gaming to music, have been made to Google. Matt Burgess, WIRED, 11 Mar. 2024 Lately, however, celebrities and their stylists have found a way to game the system—by turning their weeklong rehearsals into a runway. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 9 Mar. 2024 Recommended Trust How one Utah city bucks the divide over immigration Dr. Loomis says that college admissions committees have realized that people game the system and that a return to tests might be a little less problematic. Ira Porter, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Mar. 2024 One or two players can game locally, and there's an online version that supports up to eight. Louryn Strampe, WIRED, 10 Mar. 2024 In recent years, USCIS found that the same applicant was being submitted by multiple companies in order to game the system and increase their chances of being selected. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 6 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'game.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English game, gamen "delight, amusement, play, contest, pursuit of animals in sport," going back to Old English gamen, gomen "amusement, jest, pastime," going back to Germanic *gamano- (whence Old Saxon & Old High German gaman "amusement," Old Norse gaman "sport, amusement"), of uncertain origin

Adjective (1)

derivative of game entry 1 (earliest in phrase to die game "to meet death resolutely")

Verb

derivative of game entry 1

Adjective (2)

of obscure origin

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a(1)

Adjective (1)

1752, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Verb

1512, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Adjective (2)

circa 1787, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of game was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near game

Cite this Entry

“Game.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/game. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

game

1 of 4 noun
1
a
: activity engaged in for amusement
b
: fun entry 1 sense 1, sport
make game of a nervous player
2
a
: a procedure or strategy for gaining an end : tactic
b
: a line of work : profession
3
a
: a contest carried on following set rules for amusement, exercise, or reward
b
: a division of a larger contest
c
: the number of points necessary to win
d
: the manner of playing in a contest
4
a
: animals pursued or taken by hunting
b
: the flesh of game animals
c
: an object of ridicule or attack
often used in the phrase fair game

game

2 of 4 verb
gamed; gaming

game

3 of 4 adjective
gamer; gamest
1
a
: full of spirit or eagerness : determined
game to the end
b
: willing or ready to go
2
: of or relating to animals that are hunted
game laws
gamely adverb
gameness noun

game

4 of 4 adjective
: lame entry 1 sense 1b
a game leg

Legal Definition

game

intransitive verb
gamed; gaming
: to play for a stake : gamble

More from Merriam-Webster on game

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