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

Example Sentences

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

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

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 30 Nov. 2022.

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

gamed; gaming
: to play for a stake : gamble

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