There are 2 main definitions of game in English:

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Syllabification: game
Pronunciation: /ɡām


1A form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.
Example sentences
  • For the most part, hockey is truly a team game in a sports world that sells individuals.
  • Rugby enthusiasts gave up on the sport after the game was dragged in the mud.
  • Earlier this year, the house teams competed in friendly rivalry games of cricket, football and volleyball.
pastime, diversion, entertainment, amusement, distraction, divertissement, recreation, sport, activity
match, contest, tournament, meet;
final, playoff;
1.1A complete episode or period of play, typically ending in a definite result: a baseball game
More example sentences
  • We will just try our hardest and concentrate on our final few games to get the results we need.
  • Amazingly there were to be only two further scores in the final period of the game.
  • When he cleaned up in the final innings of the game, he was fully vindicated.
1.2A single portion of play forming a scoring unit in a match, especially in tennis.
Example sentences
  • The eighth seed broke him in the third game of the match and from then on broke serve at will.
  • The Swiss calmly wrapped up the victory on the first of three match points a game later.
  • Sutton's Dave and Julie were the best couple in both matches winning 27 games in each fixture.
1.3 Bridge A score of 100 points for tricks bid and made (the best of three games constituting a rubber).
Example sentences
  • A side which has already won one game towards the current rubber is said to be vulnerable.
  • A game may be made in more than one deal, such as by scoring 60 and later 40, or it may be scored by making a larger bid and earning 100 or more points in a single deal.
1.4A person’s performance in a game; a person’s standard or method of play: he will attempt to raise his game to another level
More example sentences
  • This Indian team has several batsmen who can raise their game to attain this level.
  • We've proved we can win games, it's a case now of making sure we raise our game and get quality performances when we need them.
  • Not one to stand still, he is determined to raise his game to a new level.
1.5 (games) A meeting for sporting contests, especially track and field: the Olympic Games
More example sentences
  • In 14 World Cup games in five previous tournaments Korea had not won a match.
  • Some will simply enjoy the games as a sporting event.
  • Granagh Youth Club hope to be involved in a number of events in the county games competitions.
1.6 (games) British Sports and athletic activities as organized in a school.
Example sentences
  • He would not have done so had he not discovered this talent in our games lesson.
  • He said had been at his games lesson for only 15 minutes when the headteacher took him to his office, where police were called.
  • The sound of a typical high school games lesson vibrates beneath us, but our gaze is fixed for two, maybe three minutes.
1.7The equipment for a game, especially a board game or a computer game.
Example sentences
  • The money was to purchase equipment for the club, including computers, games, furniture and arts and crafts materials.
  • Monopoly is Hasbro's largest selling board game with 1.5m games sold per year.
  • Gradually I bought a few more games and even managed to meet a few other players.
2A type of activity or business, especially when regarded as a game: this was a game of shuttle diplomacy at which I had become adept
More example sentences
  • The main thing coming into the professional game is that I didn't know where to work or what they were expecting from me.
  • Trade and economic growth are positive-sum games, in which there can be winners without losers.
  • It often seems to be about performance, parliamentary games and all that type of nonsense.
2.1A secret and clever plan or trick: I was on to his little game, but I didn’t want him to know
More example sentences
  • This is all down to the secret game of politics they are playing.
  • Our game of secret messages is a little one-sided as his referrals don't seem to work properly.
  • Robertson, soulless puppetmaster that he is, says that the plans are just games.
scheme, plot, ploy, stratagem, strategy, gambit, tactics;
prank, practical joke
informal scam
archaic shift
3Wild mammals or birds hunted for sport or food.
Example sentences
  • The browns and tans and whites of poised game can blend with the background foliage.
  • They were very much plant eaters, hunting live game for either the sport or the bones to construct their settlements.
  • Home of the Bushmen, the arid reaches of the Kalahari has some spectacularly wild and remote game viewing areas.
3.1The flesh of mammals or birds, used as food.
Example sentences
  • Foods to avoid include red meat, particularly game, offal, beef, pork and lamb.
  • He insists that all the meat is Scottish and the seafood, game, fruit and vegetables are local and delivered each day.
  • The seafood and game are excellent, and the staff insist on knowing what you plan to prepare and giving advice.
wild animals, wild fowl, big game


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Eager and willing to do something new or challenging: they were game for anything after the traumas of Monday
More example sentences
  • Saturday's match saw a good turnout of players eager to get game time prior to the league season.
  • Game for a laugh is Denis, but I digress.
  • If you want others to be game, you've got to also be game yourself once in a while.


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1 [no object] (often as adjective gaming) Play games of chance for money.
Example sentences
  • Down below, the regular punters swarm around hundreds of baize gaming tables.
  • When the first gaming casino was established on a reserve, a SWAT team took the chief away in chains.
  • Now it is home to the main shopping mall and gaming rooms of the Casino complex.
gamble, bet, place/lay bets
1.1Play video or computer games.
Example sentences
  • Contemporary interests include the phenomenon of fan culture and video gaming.
  • Nintendo has been around longer than video gaming and it most likely will stay that way forever.
  • Has there been a big enough paradigm shift in our culture to create a change in gaming?
2 [with object] Manipulate (a situation), typically in a way that is unfair or unscrupulous: it was very easy for a few big companies to game the system politicians blamed electricity generators for gaming the market
More example sentences
  • The problem is, such systems can be gamed.
  • That company is a case in point, where they create a "market failure" by gaming the system in their favor.
  • He was gaming the Time magazine most influential person poll.


Old English gamen 'amusement, fun', gamenian 'play, amuse oneself', of Germanic origin.


ahead of the game

Ahead of one’s competitors or peers in the same sphere of activity.
Example sentences
  • Newspapers like Scotland on Sunday are only too aware of how hard it is to stay ahead of the game in an increasingly competitive market.
  • You can either enlist the services of a communications group who are committed to staying years ahead of the game, or you can sell up now and cut your losses.
  • Mercedes has sought to stay ahead of the game by adorning its latest little beauty with as many technological improvements as possible.

at the top of one's game

see top1.

beat someone at their own game

Use someone’s own methods to outdo them in their chosen activity.
Example sentences
  • This and many other books and newspaper and magazine articles recommended that European industry and commerce should learn from the methods of the Americans and try to beat them at their own game.
  • Some of his fellow activists are less than sanguine about the shift from a strategy of opposing corporations to one of beating them at their own game.
  • There is a certain pleasure in beating them at their own game, which very nearly matches a shopping buzz.

game over

informal Said when a situation is regarded as hopeless or irreversible.
Example sentences
  • If they are able to properly cross-exam, as he clearly is, it's not game over.
  • It was game over for him, and he walked away with an annoyed look.
  • If he wins his first Daytona 500, it will be game over for his competitors.

make (a) game of

archaic Mock; taunt.
Example sentences
  • ‘You shouldn't make a game of these people who suffer for their families,’ a Carrolton senior said.
  • He spends his life in chaffing and making game of his fellow-men.
  • As the sick, demented and twisted ex-girlfriend, I'm always labeled ‘the bad one,’ but you've gone your entire career making a game of women and we're always considered the bad ones.

make a game of it

Sports Make a contest more closely competitive.
Example sentences
  • Berwick Rangers kept themselves in fourth place with a 2-1 triumph over rock-bottom Albion Rovers, who at least should be praised for making a game of it.
  • You have to question the spirit of a side that makes a game of it in the first twenty minutes, despite conceding a soft goal at the start, and then falls apart.
  • They'll be happy to come to Tolka Park for a draw, so it's up to us to make a game of it and knock in a couple of goals.

off (or on) one's game

Playing badly (or well).
Example sentences
  • They can take bad penalties and, despite their excellent penalty killing, get off their game.
  • Owen, 21, a former Bury Boys' champion from Breightmet, had already played in a couple of Tamsel Tour events this season, conceded that he was not on his game.
  • When he's on his game, he can play most pucks without flinching.

the only game in town

informal The best, the most important, or the only thing worth considering.
Example sentences
  • In a sense it more or less constitutes, as far as public sphere activity is concerned, the only game in town.
  • Where television is concerned, comedy seems to be the only game in town.
  • I think they took the attitude that they were the only game in town and you had to play by their rules.

play the game

Behave in a fair or honorable way; abide by the rules or conventions.
Example sentences
  • In short they made it clear to journalists that they either played the game according to Labour rules or they had no future as a political reporter.
  • I would just like to be remembered as someone who played the game, and played fair.
  • It has been my belief that you play the game according to the rules even as you work to change them.
play fair, be fair, play by the rules, conform, be a good sport, toe the line

play games

Deal with someone or something in a way that lacks due seriousness or respect: Don’t play games with me!
More example sentences
  • It is also clear that she did play games - a good deal of trickery was employed.
  • None of us on this side of the House plays games when we are presented with serious propositions to defend the national interest.
  • I got the feeling that some of them were playing games with us.



Example sentences
  • Then men and women linked arms outside fire stations, cheered one another on, gamely fed braziers and generally enjoyed themselves.
  • As he gamely attempts to haul his party closer to the reality of the present day, he will be surrounded at all turns by echoes of the past he wants them to forget.
  • The chronically shirtless contestants participate gamely and even shed a few tears under duress.


Example sentences
  • One thing that gets you about these Paralympians is their sense of shrug-off gameness about ignored or forgotten injuries.
  • When chemotherapy took her hair from her she once donned a Rastafarian wig, and we all laughed at the hair gone by and her gameness in donning such an unlikely wig.
  • If gameness won fights, Paulie would still be a champion.


Example sentences
  • Ford's Volvo is so pleased with the effect of its games that it has put gamesters into a TV commercial, and plans its own game for consoles such as Sony's PlayStation.
  • The work's oversized video projections scrutinize the mesmerized, slightly twitching faces of young gamesters as they maneuver, kill and die in the cyber realm of a network combat game.
  • ‘The extended multimedia instructions only benefit a tiny minority of gamesters,’ said the US manufacturer.

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There are 2 main definitions of game in English:

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Entry from British & World English dictionary


(Of a person’s leg) permanently injured; lame: his game leg was playing him up


late 18th century: originally dialect, of unknown origin.

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