\ ˈgām How to pronounce game (audio) \

Definition of game

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a(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
2a(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
3a : a procedure or strategy for gaining an end : tactic
b : an illegal or shady scheme or maneuver : racket
4a(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

Definition of game (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : 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


gamed; gaming; games

Definition of game (Entry 3 of 4)

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

Definition of game (Entry 4 of 4)

: 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

Other Words from game


gamelike \ ˈgām-​līk How to pronounce game (audio) \ adjective

Adjective (1)

gamely adverb
gameness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for game

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective (1)

Antonyms: Adjective (1)

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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 See More

First Known Use of game


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

Adjective (1)

1752, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


1512, in the meaning defined at sense

Adjective (2)

circa 1787, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for game


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")


derivative of game entry 1

Adjective (2)

of obscure origin

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Time Traveler for game

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near game



game animal

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Statistics for game

Last Updated

23 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Game.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for game


\ ˈgām How to pronounce game (audio) \

Kids Definition of game

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a contest or sport played according to rules with the players in direct opposition to each other
2 : the manner of playing in a game or contest She has improved her game.
3 : playful activity : something done for amusement The children were happy at their games.
4 : animals hunted for sport or for food
5 : the meat from animals hunted for food


gamer; gamest

Kids Definition of game (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : willing or ready to do something I'm game to try a new restaurant.
2 : full of spirit or eagerness She remained game to the end.
3 : relating to or being animals that are hunted the game laws game birds

Other Words from game

gamely adverb … he panted for breath as he stumbled gamely on. — Brian Jacques, Redwall


intransitive verb
gamed; gaming

Legal Definition of game

: to play for a stake : gamble

More from Merriam-Webster on game

Nglish: Translation of game for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of game for Arabic Speakers


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