General English

  • noun an activity in which people compete with each other using skill, strength or luck
  • noun a single match between two opponents or two opposing teams
  • noun a single session in an activity or sport such as tennis or cards
  • noun wild animals and birds such as deer, rabbits and pheasants, which are killed for sport or food
  • plural noun a large organised sports competition


  • A theoretical construct in game theory in which players select actions or strategies and the payoffs depend on the actions or strategies of all players.


  • A computer program in which one or more users interact with the computer and/or other players, for amusement or competition. Such programs may be of varying complexity, and some feature faithfully realistic simulations of complicated activities such as aircraft piloting. Also called computer game, or video game (1).


  • Wild birds and animals hunted for food, generally only in season at certain times of the year. Some animals and birds such as quail, rabbit and deer, which are now reared for the table in captivity, are still classed as game. The flavour of true game is supposed to be related to the intermittence of its food and its more stressful life than a domestic animal or bird. See under individual types: boar, capercaillie, deer, duck, goose, grouse, partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, ptarmigan, quail, rabbit, snipe, teal, widgeon and woodcock.


  • noun a form of promotional material where people have a chance of winning a prize


  • adjective working as a prostitute, available for sex. The word in this sense is a back-formation from the earlier ‘on the game’. It is used by punters and those involved professionally in prostitution.


  • noun a sporting or other activity in which players compete against each other by following a fixed set of rules
  • noun an occasion when a competitive game is played
  • noun in sports such as tennis, a subsection of play that goes towards making up a set or match
  • noun the total number of points needed to win a contest

Origin & History of “game”

there are two games in English. The noun game ‘pastime, sport’ (OE) used to be a fairly widespread word in the Germanic languages (Swedish and Danish still preserve it as gamman and gammen respectively) and may well go back to a prehistoric Germanic compound formed from the collective prefix *ga- and *mann-‘person’ (source of English man), and denoting literally ‘people together, participating’. Its Old English was gamen which, before it became reduced to game (a process which began in the 13th century but was not complete until the 16th century), bequeathed gammon (as in backgammon) and probably also gamble to modern English. Game ‘plucky’ (18th c.) is probably an adjectival use of the same word. Game ‘lame’ (18th c.), however, and its derivative gammy (19th c.), are not related; they may come from archaic French gambi ‘crooked’.