Language: Old English
Origin: gamen


1 noun
game1 S1 W1

activity or sport

a) DGDS an activity or sport in which people compete with each other according to agreed rules
computer/card/ball etc game
Dan's never liked card games.
We used to play games like draughts or chess.
You'll have to explain the rules of the game.
b) DGDS an occasion when a game is played [↪ match]:
Did you see the game on TV last night?
game against/with
England's World Cup game against Holland
game of cards/tennis etc
How about a game of chess?
win/lose a game
They've won their last three games.
home game (=played at a team's own sports field)
away game (=played at an opposing team's sports field)
ball game, board game, video game, war game


a) DS a large organized sports event:
the Olympic Games
b) British EnglishDSSES organized sports as a school subject or lesson [= P.E.]:
We have games on Thursdays.
a games lesson

part of a match

[countable]DGDS one of the parts into which a single match is divided, for example in tennis or bridge1 (4):
Graf leads, two games to one.


[countable]DLSSC a children's activity in which they play with toys, pretend to be someone else etc
game of
a game of hide-and-seek
The boys were playing a game in the backyard.


somebody's game

DGDS how well someone plays a particular game or sport
improve/raise your game
Liam's taking lessons to improve his game.
the strongest aspect of his game

give the game away

to spoil a surprise or secret by doing or saying something that lets someone guess what the secret is:
Lynn gave the game away by laughing when Kim walked in.

beat somebody at their own game

also play somebody at their own game British English to beat someone or fight back against them by using the same methods that they use

not serious

be a game

to be something that you do to enjoy yourself rather than for a serious purpose:
It's just a game to them. They don't care what happens.

play games (with somebody)

a) to behave in a dishonest or unfair way in order to get what you want:
Are you sure he's really interested, and not just playing silly games with you?
b) to not be serious about doing something:
We want a deal. We're not interested in playing games.


[uncountable]HBDSO wild animals, birds, and fish that are hunted for food, especially as a sport:
game birds
big game

the only game in town

used to say that something is the only possible choice in a situation:
The Church of England is no longer the only game in town.


[singular] informalBO an area of work or business:
I've been in this game for over 10 years.

what's her/your etc game?

British English spoken used to ask what the true reason for someone's behaviour is:
Reg is being very nice all of a sudden. What's his game?

the game's up

spoken used to tell someone that something wrong or dishonest that they have done has been discovered:
Come out, Don. The game's up.

a game of chance

DGG a game in which you risk money on the result:
Poker is a game of chance.

somebody got game

American English informal used to say that someone is very skilful at doing something, especially a sport

be on the game

British English informal to be a prostitute

game on

spoken said when the balance of a sports match or competition changes, and both sides suddenly have a chance of winning

game over

informal said to emphasize that an event or activity is completely finished

make game of somebody

old-fashioned to make fun of someone
fair game

➔ fun and games

at fun1 (5)

➔ the name of the game

at name1 (10)

➔ a mug's game

at mug1 (5)

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