game (n.)

c. 1200, from Old English gamen "joy, fun; game, amusement," common Germanic (cognates: Old Frisian game "joy, glee," Old Norse gaman "game, sport; pleasure, amusement," Old Saxon gaman, Old High German gaman "sport, merriment," Danish gamen, Swedish gamman "merriment"), said to be identical with Gothic gaman "participation, communion," from Proto-Germanic *ga- collective prefix + *mann "person," giving a sense of "people together."

The -en was lost perhaps through being mistaken for a suffix. Meaning "contest for success or superiority played according to rules" is first attested c. 1200 (of athletic contests, chess, backgammon). Especially "the sport of hunting, fishing, hawking, or fowling" (c. 1300), thus "wild animals caught for sport" (c. 1300), which is the game in fair game (see under fair (adj.)), also gamey. Meaning "number of points required to win a game" is from 1830. Game plan is 1941, from U.S. football; game show first attested 1961.

game (adj.1)

"lame," 1787, from north Midlands dialect, of unknown origin, perhaps a variant of gammy (tramps' slang) "bad," or from Old North French gambe "leg" (see gambol (n.)).

game (adj.2)

"ready for action, unafraid, and up to the task;" probably literally "spirited as a game-cock," 1725, from game-cock "bird bred for fighting" (1670s), from game (n.) in the "sport, amusement" sense. Middle English adjectives gamesome, gamelich meant "joyful, playful, sportive."

game (v.)

Middle English gamen "to sport, joke, jest," from Old English gamenian "to play, jest, joke;" see game (n.). The Middle English word is little recorded from c. 1400 and modern use for "to play at games" (1520s) probably is a new formation from the noun; and it might have been re-re-coined late 20c. in reference to computer games. Related: Gamed; gaming.

Definitions of game
game (n.)
a contest with rules to determine a winner;
you need four people to play this game
game (n.)
a single play of a sport or other contest;
the game lasted two hours
game (n.)
an amusement or pastime;
they played word games
he thought of his painting as a game that filled his empty time
his life was all fun and games
game (n.)
animal hunted for food or sport;
game (n.)
(tennis) a division of play during which one player serves;
game (n.)
(games) the score at a particular point or the score needed to win;
he is serving for the game
the game is 6 all
game (n.)
the flesh of wild animals that is used for food;
game (n.)
a secret scheme to do something (especially something underhand or illegal);
I saw through his little game from the start
Synonyms: plot / secret plan
game (n.)
the game equipment needed in order to play a particular game;
the child received several games for his birthday
game (n.)
your occupation or line of work;
he's in the plumbing game
Synonyms: biz
game (n.)
frivolous or trifling behavior;
for him, life is all fun and games
for actors, memorizing lines is no game
game (adj.)
disabled in the feet or legs;
a game leg
Synonyms: crippled / halt / halting / lame / gimpy
game (adj.)
willing to face danger;
Synonyms: gamy / gamey / gritty / mettlesome / spirited / spunky
game (v.)
place a bet on;
Synonyms: bet on / back / gage / stake / punt