game 1 (gām)
1. An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime: party games; word games.
a. A competitive activity or sport in which players contend with each other according to a set of rules: the game of basketball; the game of gin rummy.
b. A single instance of such an activity: We lost the first game.
c. games An organized athletic program or contest: track-and-field games; took part in the winter games.
d. A period of competition or challenge: It was too late in the game to change the schedule of the project.
a. The total number of points required to win a game: One hundred points is game in bridge.
b. The score accumulated at any given time in a game: The game is now 14 to 12.
4. The equipment needed for playing certain games: packed the children's games in the car.
5. A particular style or manner of playing a game: improved my tennis game with practice.
a. An active interest or pursuit, especially one involving competitive engagement or adherence to rules: "the way the system operates, the access game, the turf game, the image game" (Hedrick Smith).
b. A business or occupation; a line: the insurance game.
c. An illegal activity; a racket.
a. Evasive, trifling, or manipulative behavior: wanted a straight answer, not more of their tiresome games.
b. A calculated strategy or approach; a scheme: I saw through their game from the very beginning.
8. Mathematics A model of a competitive situation that identifies interested parties and stipulates rules governing all aspects of the competition, used in game theory to determine the optimal course of action for an interested party.
a. Wild animals hunted for food or sport.
b. The flesh of these animals, eaten as food.
a. An object of attack, ridicule, or pursuit: The press considered the candidate's indiscretions to be game.
b. Mockery; sport: The older children teased and made game of the newcomer.
v. gamed, gam·ing, games
To manipulate dishonestly for personal gain; rig: executives who gamed the system to get huge payoffs.
1. To play for stakes; gamble.
2. To play a role-playing or computer game.
adj. gam·er, gam·estIdioms:
1. Plucky and unyielding in spirit; resolute: She put up a game fight against her detractors.
2. Ready and willing: Are you game for a swim?
ahead of the game
In a position of advantage; winning or succeeding.
be on (one's) game
To play a sport with great skill.
the only game in town Informal
The only one of its kind available: "He's the only game in town for the press to write about" (Leonard Garment).
[Middle English, from Old English gamen.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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