1. (UK Und.) in the context of sexuality.
(a) sexual intercourse.
|Towneley Mysteries ‘Annunciation’ line 300: Bot it is long of yowth-hede, All sich wanton playes [...] Bot Marie and I playd neuer so sam, Neuer togeder we vsid that gam.|
|Mirrour of Mirth 35: Finding his wife skilfull in the game, [he] presently spoke in this manner.|
|Disputation Betweene a Hee and a Shee Conny-Catcher (1923) 23: My gentle Foyst, who makyng good cheere, was so eager of his game, that he would straight to bedde by the leaue of dame Bawde.|
|Example II ii: All the ladies you can wish for, / Humble and suppliant for the game.|
|‘The Coy Sheperdess’ in Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) II 32: Hotly he persued the Game, / Whilst his heart was on a flame.|
|‘A Display of the Headpiece & Codpiece Valour’ Rump Poems and Songs II (1662) 94: How poorly this Fellow has plaid his Game!|
|Man of Mode II ii: Go on, be the Game-Mistress o’ the Town, and enter all our young Fops, as fast as they come from Travel.|
|‘The London Libertine’ inGentility & Comic Theatre late Stuart London (2005) 59: For while the Merchant walks the Change, I can in his little Warren range, / And freely play the Game, / Which I forbear to name.|
|Teagueland Jests II 160: He caressed her A-la-mode de Paris, and being very hot upon his Game, he was impatient of Delays.|
|‘The Biter Bitten’ in Broadside Ballads No. 19: The Broker he courted this beautiful dame, / So hot and eager he was at the game; / He said twenty Guineys on thee I’le bestow; / If thou wilst be willing.|
|Hudibras Redivivus II:5 15: Punks and Beaus [...] crowded in to try their Fortune, / By way of preface to a Game, / Which Modesty won’t let me name.|
|in Pills to Purge Melancholy V 24: As I was at the wanton Game, / My pocket they fairly pick’d.|
|‘The Original black Joke. Sent from Dublin’ 🎵 He fancy’d himself very fit fr the game / She sent him to Holland all in a flame.|
|Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 81: A Girl who was ripe for the Game, / Look’d out for a sizeable Lad.|
|‘The Rakes of Stony Batter’ in A. Carpenter Verse in Eng. in 18C Ireland (1998) 339: For game they’re willing, / Tho’ Jenny cries, ‘Nay, I won’t F—k for a shilling’.|
|Nunnery Amusements 6: A soft nymph lay panting for the game.|
|Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies 39: She never takes less than a guinea for a dish of tea and a game at tee-to-tum.|
|Bacchanalian Mag. 50: Original and selected Toasts and Sentiments [...] Gamein the Cover.|
|‘The Rakes of Stony Batter’ inI (1975) 223: Their smiling winning ways, shewe for game their willing.|
|Account of Mary M’Kinnon 50: All you maidens who love the game.|
|‘Smith’s Frolic’ inII (1979) 61: She seem’d in a hurry to be at the game.|
|‘The Cards’ inII (1979) 44: The game we shall play shall be at all fours.|
|Boston Blade 10 June n.p.: Last night in my rambles in search of some game / Chance led me through High street almost in a flame.|
|Yokel’s Preceptor 4: The corner of Marlborough-row, Carnaby Market. This is a house of good fame, where good accomodation may be had for a lady and gentleman, at a tip-top charge, and is very snug and private, and where the game of ‘one peg in a hole’ is carried on to a great extent.|
|My Secret Life (1966) V 934: A feel, a kiss, and a sniff on the lovely motte and then the old game.|
|Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 9: Aimer l’homme = to be fond of men; ‘to play well’; ‘to be expert in the game’.|
(b) (also daughters of the game) a group of prostitutes, esp. in a brothel; cit. 1672 is a double entendre; used in sing., a mistress (see cit. 1821).
|Choise of Valentines (1899) 5: I com for game, therfore giue me my Jill.|
|Chances IV iii: You Lady Leachery, For the good-will I bear to th’ Game, most tenderly Shall be led out, and lash’d.|
|Parson’s Wedding (1664) II vii: The Court is the bravest place in the Kingdom for sport, if it were well look’d to, and the Game preserv’d fair; but as ’tis, a man may sooner make a set in the Strand.|
|Love in a Wood I i: Intending a ramble to St. James’s Park to-night, upon some probable hopes of some fresh Game I have in chase.|
|Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Game [...] Have ye any Game Mother? Have ye any Whores Mistress Bawd?|
|Twin-Rivals I i: Now I fly at nobler game.|
|in Pills to Purge Melancholy I 131: Go home, ye Fop, where Game’s not dear, / And for half Crown a Doxey get.|
|‘The Sportsman’ Pleasures of Coition n.p.: But rising with the early Morn, / Pursues the nimble Game.|
|Harlot’s Progress 16: He flies at all the Game that comes, / From Locket Miss to ragged Bums.|
|, , ,||Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].|
|Songs Comic and Satyrical 124: Ye Fowlers who eager at Partridges aim, / Don’t mark the maim’d Covey, but mind better Game; / ’Tis Beauty’s the Sport to repay Sportsmen’s trouble, / And there may our Pointers stand stiff in the Stubble.‘The Sentiment Song’|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Game [...] at bawdy houses, lewd women; mother have you any game, mother have you any girls.|
|How to Grow Rich Epilogue: Father, cries Dicky, let’s live near St. James’s – Pall-Mall and Piccadilly! There the game is!|
|Sporting Mag. Oct. XVII 38/2: The common cry of scarcity extends even to the game. We are confidently assured, that not a partridge has been seen in any of the brick-fields near London.|
|Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].|
|Life in London (1830) 47: [fancy-piece] A sporting phrase for a ‘bit of nice game,’ kept in a preserve in the suburbs. A sort of Bird of Paradise!|
|Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 85: ‘Game women,’ prostitutes of the highflyer sort.|
|Gleaner (Manchester, NH) 1 July n.p.: Lowell Wants to Know If J.P. Mc’L had’nt better be at home nights than scouring the dark back streets for game.|
|Paul Pry (London 15 Aug. n.p.: Where manly sports are concerned, [we] back him against the field as a dead shot when game is to be bagged.|
(c) the world of prostitution; esp. in phr. on the game
|implied in daughter of the game|
|Works (1869) II 106: Her shop, her ware, her fame, her shame, her game, / ’Tis all her owne.‘A Whore’ in|
|The Ladies’ Parliament n.p.: Stamford she is for the game, / She saies her husband is to blame, / For her part she loves a foole, / If he hath a good toole.|
|‘A Free Parliament Letany’ Rump Poems and Songs II (1662) 185: From a Dunghill Cock, and Hen of the Game.|
|‘Crafty Country Woman’ in Bagford Ballads (1878) I 35: [His] brisk and jovial Wife is counted of the Game.|
|‘The Hopeful Bargain’ in Merry Songs and Ballads IV(1897) 210: She is as good for the Game as e’r pist.|
|in Pills to Purge Melancholy V 69: The two Metropolitans came from the Park, / As arch at the game, / as e’er plaid in the Dark.|
|Authentick Memoirs of Sally Salisbury 37: The Girl thus debauch’d, and made fit for the Game.|
|Songs Comic and Satyrical 62: I abjure each expression wou’d hurt Ladies fame, / But will they not all play the best of the game?‘Gaming’|
|‘Jenny Macraw’ in Merry Muses of Caledonia (1965) 169: Jenny Macraw was a bird o’ the game, / An’ mony a shot had been lows’d at her wame.|
|Whore’s Catechism [trans.] 77: All [women] are, or desire to be whores [...] The smock once lifted, she is familiarized to the game as if she had played it for ten years .|
|Fast Man 14:1 n.p.: ‘She’s certainly a new girl.’ ‘A new girl!’ repeated the young man, with surprise. ‘That is, I mean, she’s not been long out—not been long at this game’.|
|Truth (Sydney) 13 Jan. 5/5: ‘How long have you been at this game?’ ‘Oh, stow your patter [...] stash your gab’.|
|Dublin Wkly Nation 17 June 11/6: She is of the game [...] an arrant Betsy.|
|Truth (Sydney) 28 Oct. 5/5: By-and-bye he finds her father Makes a livin on the game / [...] / Livin on her prostitooshun.|
|Truth (Sydney) 5 Mar. 11/3: It's a daylight promenade, sir, / Not no night soliciting; / They’re too careful on the game, / Or the profits it do bring.|
|Sex (1997) II ii: She’s off the game and she’s off me since she met this Stanton.|
|Tramp and Other Stories 153: She had been at the game for years.|
|Sister of the Road (1975) 175: Pollack, who had been in the game [i.e. running a brothel] for twenty years, said that police got very little.|
|Neon Wilderness (1986) 48: I’m just in this game temporary.|
|(con. 1936–46) Winged Seeds (1984) 289: The women who make a living by the game.|
|England, Half Eng. (1960) 140: Thousands of others who spend millions of pounds [...] subsidizing ‘the game’.‘The Other Man’ in|
|(con. 1930s) Loner 44: Although relatively new to the ‘game’, she had met all sorts.|
|Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Game. Prostitution. As in ‘on the game’.|
|High Concept 107: Liza Greer cleaned up [...] and left the game.|
|Chopper 3 2: Then she met Eddy and retired from the game.|
|Gospel of the Game 7: This book is for [...] those with a vast knowledge of the Game.|
(d) homosexual sexual behaviour.
|‘A Satire on the Times’ Lover’s Pacquet 16: Here a Fop Lord acts now what’s too common, And turns his Gentleman into a Woman; With him all Night in pleasing Game does play.|
|Sun (London) 1 Dec. 4/1: They usually asked him [i.e. a print-seller] next if he had any game? upon which he produced some game birds, such as pheasants ; And then, if they said that was not the sort, he at length exhibited these representations of the most obscene sensuality.|
(f) any variety of un-conventional sexual ‘play’, e.g. sado-masochism.
|Alice in La-La Land (1999) 106: ‘I hired you for games.’ A woman’s thin, weary voice said, ‘Well, I know. But for Christ’s sake, you got to promise not to go too far’.|
2. (UK Und.) the proceeds of a robbery.
|Warning for Housekeepers n.p.: Song. When that we have bit the bloe, we carry away the game [F&H].|
3. constr. with the, an occupation, differing as to the group concerned; thus for sportsmen cock-fighting; for criminals robbery; for sailors slave-trading.
|Bk of Sports 52: [of prize-fighting] But country or colour to us are the same, / Only anxious are we in preserving the game.|
|Flash Mirror 18: R. Simpkins [...] has just open’d a cribb in the Hosiery game.|
|Sunderland Dly Echo 8 Oct. 1/8: I’m a changed man [...] I have have chucked the whole game [i.e. burglary] and here are my tools.|
|Marvel 22 May 11: He’s not likely to peach when he has once had a hand in the game!|
|Gilt Kid 17: How’s the game, Curly?|
|Banker Tells All 131: As you are interested I’ll tell you a thing or two about the game. False pearls are made by blowing very thin beads or bulbs of glass.|
|Great Aust. Gamble 58: Bookmakers in every state still agree that Ossie Porter was the hardest man to throw in the game since World War II.|
|Crime Fighter 38: In policing, we often talk about who within a department is ‘in the game,’ meaning which cops are really in the business of catching crooks.|
|Keisha the Sket (2021) 61: [of drug dealing] I need 2 gt outa dis ting we call da ‘game’.|
|Swollen Red Sun 91: [of drug dealing] He had not survived the game for as long as he had by talking to police and answering questions.|
4. a fool, a simpleton, esp. a victim [he provides a ‘game’ for his tormentors].
|Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Game, Bubbles drawn in to be cheated.|
|New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].|
|, , ,||Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Game, bubbles or pigeons drawn in to be cheated.|
|‘Modern Dict.’ in Sporting Mag. May XVIII 100/2: [as cit. 1785].|
|Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1785].|
|Dagonet Ditties 92: I saw that his chain was a gold one; / I guessed that his watch was the same; / And so, as the gent was an old one, / I thought him legitimate game.‘Pickpocket Poems’|
5. (UK Und.) the profession of robbery.
|Narrative of Street-Robberies 13: They went [...] upon the old Game of Haul-Cly.|
|Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Game. Any mode of robbing. The toby is now a queer game; to rob on the highway is now a bad mode of acting. This observation is frequently made by thieves; the roads being now so well guarded by the horse patrole; and gentlemen travel with little cash in their pockets.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1811].|
|Vocabulum 36: game The particular line of rascality the rogue is engaged in; thieving; cheating.|
|‘Six Years in the Prisons of England’ in Temple Bar Mag. Nov. 536: It’s better to stick to one good game, and get as expert at that as you can.|
|‘Autobiog. of a Thief’ in Macmillan’s Mag. (London) XL 500: I was taken by two pals (companions) to an orchard to cop (steal) some fruit, me being a mug (inexperienced) at the game.|
|Jottings from Jail 6: This time I palled in with some older hands at the game.|
|Truth (Sydney) 5 May 5/6: I’ve been a thief and lived by the game the best part of my life, paying pretty stiff for my cross-business.|
6. (later use US black) any attempt to manipulate humanity for one’s own ends, usu. financial ones.
|Proceedings Old Bailey 10 Jan. 4/2: Upon which he dogged them, and found they played the same Game at several Places the same Night.|
|The Tricks of the Town Laid Open (4 edn) 63: This Account of this Piece of Roguery [...] as I had it from my worthy Informer (one of the Masters of the Game).|
|The Minor 53: He did not understand trap, knows nothing of the game.|
|Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 242: game: every particular branch of depredation practised by the family, is called a game; as, what game do you go upon? One species of robbery or fraud is said to be a good game, another a queer game, &c.|
|Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) I 218: Don’t play the noodle, at all events, when they lead you to the scaffold. The lads of the game will laugh at you.|
|‘The Wide Awake Club’ in Bentley’s Misc. Feb. 209: He set out in life as heavy a swell as ever flowed up in the regions of the West End – carried on the game for about a dozen years in bang-up style.|
|London By Night I iii: I have discovered the rascals, their project, and their victim [...] I fancy we shall spoil their pretty little game.|
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 14 May 3/4: Liz Thompson and her husband [...] do not intend going out to ‘graft’ until the summer season sets in, when they are going to Newport, Saratoga, and other fashionable watering resorts, at which game she made out so good last season .|
|letter in Daily News 25 Sept. in (1960) 176: He, the driver, must get up earlier and go to bed without getting buffy, [...] before he found that little game would draw in the dibs.|
|‘English Sl.’ in Eve. Telegram (N.Y.) 9 Dec. 1/5: Let us present a few specimens:– [...] ‘Is that your little game?’.|
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 15 Apr. 2/1: The Actors’ Fund. That's the begging bowl now. Where is the money to go? Who is to handle it? What rackets is it to pay for? This game is altogether too thin.|
|Tag, Rag & Co. 23: It may be a paying game with her just now, but that’s ’cos it’s new, and there’s not many that are awake to it.|
|Boy’s Own Paper 1 Dec. 130: Just let me see you try any games of that kind again, and I’ll thrash you within an inch of your life.|
|Cattle Brands 🌐 I want you to [...] give him a big game about what a general uprising there is [...] for an efficient man for the office of sheriff.‘Seigerman’s Per Cent’ in|
|‘Mitchell on the “Situation”’ in Roderick (1972) 716: They were both [...] at the same game — and they couldn’t trust each other apart and they couldn’t trust each other together.|
|Negro and His Songs (1964) 219: Well, I walked up to conductor for to give him game o’ talk.|
|Nightmare Town (2001) 331: I didn’t know whether one of my dear nephews was getting suspicious and putting up a game on me.‘They Can Only Hang You Once’ in|
|(con. early 1930s) Harlem Glory (1990) 23: Since you’re in the game why don’t you play it right?|
|Big Smoke 11: ‘What’s your interest in him?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘What’s the game, then?’ ‘No game.’.|
|Black Short Story Anthol. (1972) 305: Ever since Dan and Mac were in kindergarten together, Mac been putting the game on him. ‘You a trick, Dan – a stiffy,’ Herman said. ‘You so square Little Orphan Annie could put game on you.’.‘The Game’ in King|
|Howard Street 112: The streeters really admired Father Divine and called him a Master Player; he had, they said, a heavy game.|
|Street Players 133: If a nigger lays his game on you right, you won’t be worried.|
|On the Stroll 112: Some pimps would discipline their bitches for being a penny short, but Prince liked to think he played a higher game.|
|🎵 Check game from the notorious Compton G.‘Deeez Nuuuts’|
|Hooky Gear 162: Brawn an brain need raw prawn for dem game. An here I am all use up an raw like a fuckin prawn in a game.|
|🎵 So step your game up, build your name up, quit your talkin.‘Swisha And Dosha’|
|UNC-CH Campus Sl. 2011 5: GAME — charm, charisma, sex appeal to seduce the opposite sex.(ed.)|
7. spirit, ‘pluck’.
|Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 19: The spooney shall hear of his science and game.|
|N.Y. Transcript 4 Feb. 2/2–3: Reed decided the fate of the day [i.e. a prizefight result] by his game.|
|Courier (Hobart, Tas.) 4 Feb. 2/5: [T]hose who witness their last moments are inclined to attribute their conduct [...] to natural bravery, expressed in their slang as ‘game’.|
|Broadway Belle (NY) 1 Jan. n.p.: Horace possesses game, while Jim is distinguished for bottom.|
|Empire (Sydney) 29 Apr. 3/4: [A]lthough he did not display tho hardened, careless spirit known in slang term as ‘game,’ yet throughout the short period since his condemnation, he manifested the coolness and determlnation of a man of the strongest nerve.|
|Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 51: I’m only telling yer the truth; yer a chicken-hearted lot, and losing all yer game; for what? the pretty face of a she-devil!|
|Ulysses 102: In God’s name, John Henry Menton said, what did she marry a coon like that for? She had plenty of game in her then. / – Has still, Ned Lambert said. He does some canvassing for ads. / John Henry Menton’s large eyes stared ahead.|
8. any form of negative activity, e.g. deception, fooling around.
|Oliver Twist (1966) 191: Miss Nancy [...] burst into sundry exclamations of ‘Keep the game a-going!’ ‘Never-say-die!’ and the like.|
|Prince of Wales’ Own Song Book 41: They had a boy, about fourteen [...] He knew all slang patter so keen, / From ‘What’s your game’ to ‘All serene’.‘The Browns Ruralising’ in|
|Ticket-of-Leave Man 13: A policeman’s light was turned upon him, a strong hard voice exclaimed: ‘Don’t try any games on me; I’ve got you safe enough’.|
|Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 133: ‘What’s the meaning o’ this, Walker?’ he said. ‘What game d’ye call it?’.|
|Chimmie Fadden Explains 82: ‘What’s your game?’ I says, like dat.|
|Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 248: They’s a game runnin’ to clean up a little bundle.‘The Gangster’s Elegy’ in|
|(con. 1916) Her Privates We (1986) 122: By God, if he tries that game on me I won’t give ’im a dog’s chance.|
|Nine Tailors (1984) 192: So you had some game on, which started last September.|
|Whizzbang Comics 56: Shucks! What’s the game?|
|Jimmy Brockett 177: I was so wrapped up in the kid, I didn’t see her game until last Sunday night, when she put it on me.|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] What’s her game then, eh? What is her game? There’s no-way that – that Pauline would leave this flat without doing something really nasty to me!‘The Second Time Around’|
9. an amusing incident, a piece of fun, a ‘lark’.
|Harry Lorrequer 42: Ah, Fin, my darling, you needn’t deny it; you’re at the old game as sure as my name is Malachi.|
|Tom Brown’s School-Days (1896) 208: ‘Oh, here’s a game,’ whispered the rest of us.|
|Boy’s Own Paper 15 Dec. 165: Here’s a game [...] Oh, isn’t it fun!|
|Gem 4 Nov. 4: But what’s the little game?|
10. (orig. US) a calling, business or interest; esp. in phr. what’s your game?
|Scamps of London I i: What Bobby! still at the old game, eh? smoked cabbage leaves; rummy Spitalfields wipes.|
|London By Night I ii: Then what‘s your little game, Smouchy?|
|General Bounce (1891) 133: Honesty, indeed! If honesty’s the game, you’ve a right to your share, what Mrs. Kettering intended you should have.|
|Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act III: I should like to know Hawkshaw’s little game.|
|Wanderings of a Vagabond 276: ‘What the divil do ye mane by axing is that his game?’ demanded Mr. McGovern, pretending to be very indignant.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Feb. 12/2: When spons. And tinned salmon is a flyin’ about, I want to cop my little portion. […] You and me’s no chickens at this game.|
|My Secret Life (1966) III 512: I made the best of it, though very angry on the quiet at seeing my game baulked.|
|Barkeep Stories 41: ‘I ain’t tryin’ t’ knock yer game er nothin’ like dat’.|
|Hooligan Nights 10: If I went finkin’ abart uvver people I shouldn’t be no good at this game.|
|Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 108: She cut loose from de charity game as a steady job when she was married.|
|Typhoon 185: Can’t you speak? What are you poking about here for? What’s your game anyhow?’.|
|People of the Abyss 32: ‘Garn!’ he cried, with a playful shove of his fist on my shoulder. ‘Wot’s yer game, eh?’.|
|A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 12: It’s absolutely an impossibility for A. Mutt to keep away from the racing game.|
|Truth (Perth) 16 Jan. 3/7: The difficulty of obtaining labor for wheat-lumping [...] is not caused so much by the lack of idle hands as by the distaste of coal-lumpers for handling wheat. They don’t cotton to the game at all.|
|Ade’s Fables 220: It took him a long time to unwind the String from the Wallet, but he would Dig if he thought he was boosting his own Game.‘The New Fable of Susan and the Daughter’ in|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Aug. 47/2: I wus goin’ ter say as ’ow it was Bill’s fault that ’ad landed me in quod, but I thinks ter meself that’s not ther game.|
|Babbitt (1974) 105: Don’t they wish they could get into the movie game!|
|Billboard Sept. (in 2001) n.p.: Billy Doran [...] has given up the minstrel game for dance instruction work in New York.|
|Coll. Works (1975) 250: I am twenty-six years old and in the newspaper game.‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ in|
|Battlers 157: The old man shot a shrewd glance at her under his shaggy brows. He did not know her, that was certain. What, he wondered, was her game?|
|Really the Blues 20: These guys got hip to themselves and went into the bootlegging game.|
|Sleep with Strangers (1983) [ebook] Thank God I got out of the oil game.|
|Hamlet of Stepney Green Act I: The taxi game never changes; too many new boys taking it up; they all think it a cushy life; they’ll learn soon enough.|
|Pimp 59: A youngster with a yen for the pimp game.|
|Much Obliged, Jeeves 62: I said I could read you like a book, Wooster. I know what your game is.|
|Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 8: A private dick / that’s a hell of a game!|
|Homeboy 48: I know your game, Speaker. Narcotics, bunko, burglary, pimping.|
|Guardian 23 Jan. 6: Those whose game is breaking and entering.|
|🎵 5 on shoes, my kick game mad.‘Teddy Bruckshot’|
11. (US) a situation, a state of affairs.
|Nick of the Woods III 239: Well, the game’s up at last, and we’ve both made our fortun’s!|
|Semi-Attached Couple (1979) 137: Nothing can be worse; our friends are in full retreat, and, in fact, the game is up.|
|Dagonet Ballads 106: I could see the jade’s game in a moment, and it come like a bombshell on me.|
|Robbery Under Arms (1922) 98: You seen the game was up by the papers, didn’t you?|
|Fables in Sl. (1902) 40: When 235 pounds of Sunshine came wafting up the Street, they felt they were up against a New Game.|
|Marvel 15 Oct. 28: ‘Hullo!’ gasped Harvey Davis. ‘What’s the game?’.|
|Penny Showman 8: ‘What’s the game,’ he cried.|
|Gilt Kid 90: How’s the game, Scaley?|
|Foveaux 50: What’s the game?|
|Sudden Takes the Trail 12: What’s the giddy game, stickin’ us up thisaway?|
|Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 162: I wain’t see either of the women again. It ain’t much of a paying game.|
|Proud Highway (1997) 628: I don’t see any sense in you wanting to go out to California and get in on a game that’s a dead end.letter 6 July in|
|Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 167: If she sees you she knows the game’s up, right?|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Hey, what’s your game, eh?‘Happy Returns’|
|Indep. Rev. 16 July 5: Whereas I’m new to the game, he’s been born and bred that way.|
12. (US black) the sophisticated, streetwise person’s lifestyle.
|N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 11 Apr. 16: You’re never a fool boy — you’ve got to keep cool — Cause, Jack, you’re playing the game / [...] / The front and the pad and the car and the dame; / Maneuver that jive and you’re playing the game.|
|Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 67: I left all that behind me, made my way to fame / when Yellow Kid Weil taught me the game.|
|Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 397: The introduction of the Good Book into the game is unique.‘The Game’, in Kochman|
|🎵 And you love the game, that’s why you boast.‘High Rollers’|
|Campus Sl. Apr. 5: mad game – seductive quality of a person who is attractive. [...] ‘As I watched the three girls surround the guy standing at the bar, I realised that he had mad game.’.|
|🎵 Bitch the game belong to me.‘The Game Belongs To Me’|
|Running the Books 62: Fat Kat also said he wanted out of ‘the game’.|
13. expert ability at a particular skill; knowledge, power or influence in a particular industry or environment.
|(con. 1950s) Whoreson 68: I have enough game about myself not to allow my woman to see me undecided.|
|Hoops 3: All along, though, I had my game. My game was my fame, and I knew it was together.|
|Campus Sl. Fall.|
|Online Sl. Dict. 🌐 game n 1. the ability to influence or persuade. (‘Rob got more game than anyone in the music industry.’).|
|Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com 🌐 game Definition: to have skill in a certain occupation, like rappin, basketball, and of course, pimpin Example: Bitch, I got so much game I need a referee.|
|(con. 1975–6) Steel Toes 139: Syd’s ex-old man [...] gave me a lot of game, showed me how to make dough doing burgs and like that.|
|Wire ser. 5 ep. 3 [TV script] ‘You got Nerys to say that?’ ‘Twigg’s not the only guy with game around here’.‘Not for Attribution’|
|The Force [ebook] ‘You gonna play Bobby Badass with me? You can’t. You don’t have the game’‘.|
|Broken 148: ‘Actually, you worked the perp pretty well. You have some game’.‘The San Diego Zoo’ in|
14. (US) money, possessions.
|‘Duriella du Fontaine’ in Life (1976) 50: He left all his game to a Miss du Fontaine, / Who was slated to be his bride.et al.|
15. (US black) in spec. use of sense 14, drug-dealing.
|Hyperdub.com 🌐 There’s the game [drugs] – like the shotting game.in Vice Mag. at|
|Busted 50: ‘We got in the game,’ Dolores told Barbara unapologetically. ‘You get in the game to survive’.|
|We Own This City 7: He had spent years in the game, with a record of drug arrests dating back to age thirteen.|
16. (US black) in spec. use of sense 14, prostitution and/or pimping.
|‘Ball of the Freaks’ in Life (1976) 109: And the parties they [i.e. whores] threw, which were quite a few, / In this life they call the Game.et al.|
|‘Duriella du Fontaine’ in Life (1976) 50: Well I’ll pull through, like all down dudes do, / And go on playing the Game.et al.|
|House of Slammers 86: Nigga, you don’t know nuthin’ about the game, man [...] I been there, baby. I know the hustlin’ game backwards and forwards.|
|Source Aug. 32: These young bucks done fucked the game all up.|
|Class Act [ebook] ‘Get off the game or I’ll tell your parents what you’re up to’.|
17. (US Und.) benefits or gains that, while illegally obtained, are seen as worth the poor reputation such actions might engender; thus have the game without the name.
|Source Aug. 94: Real hustlers don’t talk about shit they did. Game is to be sold, not told.|
see separate entry.
(US black) an (artificially) aggressive facial look, used for antagonistic situations.
|Saturday’s America 260: [H]e started working up his mad for the game; putting on his ‘game face’.|
|Life Its Ownself (1985) 103: T.J. was getting his game face on.|
|Corner (1998) 16: His partner has already gone cold, his hardest game face now showing only hate.|
|Drama City 83: Mark was keeping that pleasant half smile, that game face he used.|
(N.Z. prison) life imprisonment.
|Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 76/1: game over n. life imprisonment.|
in sado-masochistic sex, a torture chamber.
|Maledicta IX 163: Game room = torture chamber.|
(US) in difficulties.
|Tales of the Ex-Tanks 122: It sounded as if the chin-whiskered constable had been against the game himself.|
(US black) to abandon a pose, to act in a spontaneous, genuine manner.
|Black Players 241: Most people cannot come ‘off their game’ and be ‘for real,’ since they cannot tell when they are playing a game unless they have a tennis racket in hand.|
a prostitute; usu. in pl.
|Troilus and Cressida IV v: O! these encounterers [...] That give a coasting welcome ere it comes, And wider unclasp the tables of their thoughts To every ticklish reader! set them down For sluttish spoils of opportunity and daughters of the game.|
|in Roxburghe Ballads VII:2 446: Great is the Empire of Cant! Those Vigilants who loudly rail against impurity [...] have generally had early fellowship with the ‘daughters of the game’, and when no longer rakes and libertines, they set up as moralists and prate of Purity.|
(US black) to interfere in someone else’s business.
|Street Players 81: One of you no-good bitches are always trying to get in somebody else’s game.|
1. (also get one’s program together) to be in full control of a situation.
|Brother Ray 266: LBJ struck me as a hard-nosed dude. He did good things we’ve already forgotten about. He had his program together.|
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 239: get (one’s) act/game/self together Assert control over one’s life (financial, emotional, situational, etc.).|
|Straight Outta Compton 21: ‘You need to get your act/game/program/shit together,’ Clive said.|
|What They Found 138: If I got my game together I don’t want to be hanging with anybody who doesn’t even have a game.‘society for the preservation of sorry-butt negroes’ in|
2. as a pimp, to define one’s image by a variety of material/symbolic ‘props’.
|Black Players 38: To get your game together usually involves the presentation of self in a particular way which requires certain props. For the pimp these may consist of flashy clothes, an expensive car, a roll of money. Although he often desires these things for their own sake or as symbols of ‘success,’ he is also aware that they constitute his front, the props he needs to make the proper impression.|
(orig. US black) to be in full control of a situation.
|‘Pimp in a Clothing Store’ in Milner & Milner (1972) 286: That man you gone bring money right straight home to him any old way and so he had his old game together.|
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 70: Gots to have program together. [Ibid.] 127: There are a number of vernacular expressions that characterize the state of being and staying cool [...] to have your [...] program together, and to have it covered [Ibid.] 128: Get in d’ [police] station be cool, keep yo’ game together [Ibid.] 241: have (one’s) act/game/program/shit together; have (one’s) game uptight Have control over one’s life (financial, emotional, situational, etc.).|
(US black) a well conceived and executed plan of action.
|Black Players 39: Strong game or heavy game is well thought out and masterfully executed. Reverse game means turning the tables on someone.|
|Street Players 48: You know heavy game when you see it, don’t you, girl.|
|Dict. of Aus. Words And Terms 🌐 GAME, IN THE – To be one of the affluent.|
to continue enjoying oneself.
|Punch Almanack n.p.: If a chap’s a genuine hot member, / He can keep the game up in November!‘Cad’s Calendar’ in|
|Cremorne III 77: And so they kept up the game for a long while, but it would not last for ever.|
(US black) to use any means whereby one attempts to gain economic, psychological or other advantages over a rival or victim.
|🎵 Niggaz bout the sex and which bitch to hit next / while I’m kickin my game and collectin them checks.‘Let’s Get High’|
|Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry 🌐 kick game see spittin’ game [i.e. ‘To try to impress someone of the opposite sex, or “picking up” on someone by “sweet talking” them’] .|
(US black) to lose control of a situation or plan.
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 127: Terms like to let your game slip [...] mean that you are losing a grip on yourself.|
(US black) to improve one’s situation financially, emotionally etc.
|Parlty Debates in Weekly Hansard (Aus.) 987: The Treasurer (Mr Keating) in this discredited Government ought to lift his game.|
|Dead of Night 115: ‘Jeez,’ I thought, ‘I’ll have to lift my game.’ All these weeks without Mum had left me pretty slack.|
|Perfect Skin 45: Great song, but I’ve really got to lift my game. I pick up a couple of thirty-six packs.|
|Hawke Ascendancy 290: He wanted him to ‘lift his game’ . He told Hayden the party needed fresh ideas and a better image.|
|(con. 1980s) Skagboys 69: The fear that I might have missed the boat [...] makes me think of how tae up my game.|
|Riker’s 134: When I was there was when they started to really up their game.|
(Irish) eccentric, unbalanced.
|Glorious Heresies 194: The woman’s actually off her game [...] You know she lives in cuckoo land.|
1. working as a thief.
|Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 163/1: On the game – thieving.|
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
|Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 4: Game (on the) - Thieving.|
|Chicago May (1929) 33: Then he put her on the game (had her taught thieving).|
2. involved in prostitution.
|In Darkest London 247: Except for the girl being ‘on the game’ the home would long since have broken up.|
|Daily News (London) 21 July 8/6: The prosecutrix pestered her to ‘go on the game’, i.e. the streets .|
|Women of Shakespeare 213: The phrase of the prostitute to-day on the streets of London is: ‘I’m on the game’ .|
|This Gutter Life 17: I remember when I started on the game – I wasn’t fourteen yet.|
|(con. WWI) Flesh in Armour 267: ‘Here’s another mystery [...] that a girl on the game would [...] not want money for it’.|
|Fings I i: Lil has been on the game for over ten years, but, like Fred, she is now past it.|
|Cockade (1965) I iii: I wasn’t on the game properly – never took money.‘Prisoner and Escort’ in|
|Poor Cow 40: I mean I wouldn’t go on the game meself.|
|Sun. Times Mag. 12 Oct. 30: The girls are all on the game.|
|Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 106: Birds out on the game / all legs / then to stand about / flaunt themselves for all to see.West in|
|(con. 1940s) Dublin Tenement Life 158: They were a mixture of country girls and Dublin girls, generally uneducated girls, who might have been exploited by her employer. Then they’d ‘go on the game’.|
|(con. 1964-65) Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 133: Natalie decided to [...] go on the game.|
|(con. 1960s) London Blues 88: His mother was reputed to be a French whore (as, indeed, were most of the girls on the game fifty years ago).|
|Happy Like Murderers 72: Oh my God, Anna’s on the game.|
|in Jack of Jumps (2007) 202: She’d been on the game for years.|
|Life 45: The scandal that two of Gus’s sisters [...] were - she would say it in a whisper - ‘on the game’.|
|Thrill City [ebook] ‘Back on the game?’ ‘Fuck you [...] Stripping isn’t prostitution’.|
|Glorious Heresies 103: ‘Only the leader guy knows that I was on the game’.|
|Good Girl Stripped Bare 18: I’m too young to [...] ‘go on the game’.|
|Braywatch 16: From the looks I get, you’d swear I’d said she was thinking of going on the game.|
3. (US gay) walking the streets looking for sex.
|Queens’ Vernacular 56: to search for sex [...] on the game (Brit gay sl, fr pros sl = streetwalking).|
incoherent, unconscious, collapsed (through drink or drugs).
|Grits 378: She’s just rambling, just fuckin out uv-a game like, talkin shit.|
|Killing Pool 152: Don’t fret about this witness thing. Lad with the supposed info was out of the game. Smackhead.|
a phr. meaning, listen up, I’m about to tell you a secret.
|🎵 Huh. As if I know ya / Then I could show ya / But if I don’t know, I gotta fo’ fo’ fo’ ya / So, so peep game / At point blank range / The fame can’t change what the game maintains.‘Peep Game’|
|College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) 🌐 Peep Game (verb phr. & int.) A command given to alert the listener to pay close attention.|
|Portable Promised Land (ms.) 157: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Peep game. Game tight.|
to manipulate, to manoeuvre, to act in a deceptive, dishonest manner; thus game-playing adj.
|High Window 199: Morny’s trying to pin it on his wife. She was playing games with Vannier.|
|Long Good-Bye 104: The lad you call Earl wanted to play games. I figure it’s too hot.|
|(con. 1940s) Wax Boom 283: ‘Did he show up?’ [...] ‘No, the game-playing creep. That’s a politician’s trick, to tense me up so he can out-talk me.’.|
|You Flash Bastard 136: ‘This your briefcase, Mr du Cann?’ Sneed asked [...] ‘No!’ du Cann said [...] Sneed unfastened the case. There on the inside was du Cann’s name [...] He regarded the man for a moment. ‘All right, uncle, let’s not play games.’.|
|Powder 282: I wish he wouldn’t bother playing these games.|
to play at cards or dice with the intention of losing.
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
to explain, to put across information.
|🎵 Listen very close while I pop more game.‘Rappin Blow (Part 2)’|
(US black) to confuse, to play tricks on, to deceive.
|Anglia VII 264: To put er game on = to get the better of.‘Negro English’ in|
|Dopefiend (1991) 25I: I ain’t trying to put no game on you.|
(US black) to interfere in another person’s planned seduction.
|Central Sl. 46: salt in my game, don’t be puttin To belittle. To front or make fun of. To dog out. ‘Don’t be puttin no salt in my game, zip your fat mouth and let me finish.’.|
|Juba to Jive.|
|🎵 Throwing salt in my name, throwing salt on my game, what you mad at a nigga for?‘Speak My Mind’|
1. to take advantage.
|Spook who Sat by the Door (1972) 145: It looks like I’m going to throw a little shit in the game.|
2. to trick, to deceive.
|On the Yard (2002) 215: He’s putting a little shit in the game — psychological warfare.|
|Cop Team 77: You dirty no good cunts! You put some shit in the game!|
|Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 327: They had to give themselves an edge — they put shit in the game.|
|? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] One of those soft-ass nigguhs put shit in the game. They just wanted us out of the way.|
3. (US black) to abuse, to talk negatively.
|S.R.O. (1998) 193: ‘You started it anyway, talking about nobody works here but jailbirds. You always got to put shit in the game’.|
(US black) to ensnare a white person for financial gain.
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
1. (UK Und.) to rob, to pick someone’s pocket.
|Lives of the Gamesters (1930) 257: He [...] concluded her to be one of the Long-Cellar ladies, who had put the high game upon him, by emptying his pockets.|
2. to contradict, to give (lying) evidence against.
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 13 Feb. 3/3: Mr James Grace and Mr Denham Sweeney, were also called for the defence, and they likewise put the ‘high game’ upon Mr Moses.|
to improve one’s performance.
|Billy Rags [ebook] [A]ll the [...] cons were up at their windows, shouting encouragement at us but it didn’t raise our game.|
see under rank v.2
(US black) to bamboozle, to deceive, to seduce, to confuse, to obtain money by trickery.
|Trans-action 4 6/2: ‘I don’t hustle because there’s no security. You eventually get busted.’ Others said there was not enough money on the street or that it was too difficult to ‘run a game’ on people.‘Time and cool people’ in|
|Mama Black Widow 213: I had a bitch of a time convincing her to let me run the game on you.|
|Carlito’s Way 10: He tried to run a game on a friend of mine.|
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 71: Run a game on someone — to outwit, outsmart or outdo another.|
|🎵 You ran a game on your favorite dame.‘Weekend’|
|🎵 I got skill to deal and run game on bitches.‘Last Song’|
|Corner (1998) 50: With no regrets, she ran her own games on people when she could.|
|Rope Burns 44: We know Harvey be running a game on us, be trying for that edge.|
|🎵 You can’t run game on a gamer.‘Ben Dova’|
|🎵 Now shame on a nigga who try to run game on this nigga.‘Gun Them Down’|
|August Snow [ebook] ‘I know where yo high-yellow ass come from, so you can’t be runnin’ no bougie game with me, nigga’.|
|Blacktop Wasteland 148: He might be running game about the amount of the cut, but he had gotten paid.|
(US black) of a pimp, to explain the principles of the pimping business, both from experienced pimps to novices and from the pimp to his prostitutes, telling them the tricks of their trade.
|‘Sugar Hill’ in Life (1976) 93: So I ran down a game to her that would trick the slickest of whores.et al.|
|‘Adam and Eve’ in(1972) 293: So he runs the game on down to her and she fell for it, ’cause she didn’t say, ‘No, I can’t do that, I’m not that kind of woman.’ She reached out, man, and therefore she plucked a fruit from that forbidden tree, you dig?|
|Lex. Black Eng. 90: The pimp who gives this kind of instruction is running down game to his whores.|
|House of Slammers 86: Y’all just watch [...] how I run my game down to her.|
1. (orig. US black) to talk, to chatter, but spec. of a pimp, to chatter about pimping, whoring and those involved; note earlier colloq. phr. talk a good game.
|Black Players 36: To talk game is to discuss various aspects of pimping and whoring such as how to maintain control over a woman, how to get more money out of a trick, how to steer clear of arrests, and so on.|
|On the Stroll 56: He talked game with him at every chance, lectured him on the pimping code.|
|Westsiders 218: ‘Spittin’ game’ just means talking, but talking about the sort of things that hood boys talk about with other hood boys.|
|Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry 🌐 spittin’ game To try to impress someone of the opposite sex, or ‘picking up’ on someone by ‘sweet talking’ them. ‘Check out Jose over there spitting game with those hootchies!’.|
|S.F. University High School Update Mar.–Apr. 2: spittin’ game – flirting.‘Sweet, Tight and Hella Stupid’ in|
|Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 11: I had already caught the eye of a few honeys that worked there and i had started to spit game to them.|
|🎵 I ain’t gotta talk, ain’t gotta spit game.‘Laurel Canyon’|
2. to deliver rap lyrics.
|🎵 Motherfucker can’t spit straight game on the mic.‘Cusswords’|
(US) to challenge (to a fight).
|Mirror of Life 24 Feb. 14/1: As soon as he [i.e. Billy the Kid]had name and fame as a blood letter, every drunken cowboy who happened to meet him alone couldn’t resist the temptation of ‘tapping his game’.|
(US black) to hoax, to trick, to deceive, esp. when selling drugs.
|Gentleman Junkie 92: Stop tryin’ to whup the game on me, boy.‘High Dice’ in|
|Third Ear n.p.: whipping the game on an expression describing the act of successfully manipulating another person by fast talking with an attempt to hasten him into impulsive action. Those good at whipping the game are said to have a heavy game or front. Those poor have a lightweight game; e.g. He tried to whip the game on the kid, but he didn’t know the kid created the game and made the rules.|
see under whup v.
see separate entry.
SE in slang uses
(W.I.) a risible figure, a laughing-stock.
|cited in Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).|