1. (UK Und.) in the context of sexuality.
(a) [mid-15C–19C] sexual intercourse.
(b) [late 16C–mid-19C] (also daughters of the game) a group of prostitutes, esp. in a brothel; used in sing., a mistress (see cit. 1821).
(c) [17C+] the world of prostitution; esp. in phr. on the game
(d) [mid-18C] homosexual sexual behaviour.
(e) [1980s] any variety of un-conventional sexual ‘play’, e.g. sado-masochism.
2. [mid-17C] (UK Und.) the proceeds of a robbery.
3. [mid-17C+] constr. with the, an occupation, differing as to the group concerned; thus for sportsmen [late 17C–early 18C] cock-fighting; for criminals [early 19C] robbery; for sailors [mid-19C] slave-trading.
4. [late 17C–19C] a fool, a simpleton, esp. a victim [he provides a ‘game’ for his tormentors].
5. [18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) the profession of robbery.
6. [18C+] (later use US black) any attempt to manipulate humanity for one’s own ends, usu. financial ones.
7. [19C+] any form of negative activity, e.g. deception, fooling around.
8. [mid-19C–1910s] an amusing incident, a piece of fun, a ‘lark’.
9. [mid-19C–1920s] spirit, ‘pluck’.
10. [mid-19C+] (orig. US) a calling, business or interest; esp. in phr. what’s your game?
11. [mid-19C+] (US) a situation, a state of affairs.
12. [1950s+] expert ability at a particular skill; knowledge, power or influence in a particular industry or environment.
13. [1960s] (US) money, possessions.
14. [1960s+] (US black) the sophisticated, streetwise person’s lifestyle.
15. [1960s+] (US black) in spec. use of sense 14, drug-dealing.
16. [1960s+] (US black) in spec. use of sense 14, prostitution and/or pimping.
17. [2000s] (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.
see separate entry.
[1980s+] (US black) one’s public face.
[1960s+] in sado-masochistic sex, a torture chamber.
[late 19C–1900s] (US) in difficulties.
[1970s] (US black) to abandon a pose, to act in a spontaneous, genuine manner.
a prostitute; usu. in pl.
[1970s] (US black) to interfere in someone else’s business.
1. (also get one’s program together) to be in full control of a situation.
2. as a pimp, to define one’s image by a variety of material/symbolic ‘props’.
[1960s+] (orig. US black) to be in full control of a situation.
[1970s] (US black) a well conceived and executed plan of action.
[1920s] (Aus.) wealthy.
[late 19C] to continue enjoying oneself.
[1980s+] (US black) to use any means whereby one attempts to gain economic, psychological or other advantages over a rival or victim.
[1960s+] (US black) to lose control of a situation or plan.
[1960s+] (US black) to improve one’s situation financially, emotionally etc.
1. [mid-19C–1920s] working as a thief.
2. [late 19C+] involved in prostitution.
3. [1970s+] (US gay) walking the streets looking for sex.
[2000s] incoherent, unconscious, collapsed (through drink or drugs).
[1990s+] a phr. meaning, listen up, I’m about to tell you a secret.
[20C+] to manipulate, to manoeuvre, to act in a deceptive, dishonest manner; thus game-playing adj.
[late 18C–early 19C] to play at cards or dice with the intention of losing.
to explain, to put across information.
[late 19C; 1970s+] (US black) to confuse, to play tricks on, to deceive.
[1980s+] (US black) to interfere in another person’s planned seduction.
1. [1960s] to take advantage.
2. [1960s+] to trick, to deceive.
[1960s+] (US black) to ensnare a white person for financial gain.
1. [18C] (UK Und.) to rob, to pick someone’s pocket.
2. to contradict, to give (lying) evidence against.
see under rank v.2
[1960s+] (US black) to bamboozle, to deceive, to seduce, to confuse, to obtain money by trickery.
[1960s+] (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.
1. [1970s+] (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.
2. to deliver rap lyrics.
[1960s+] (US black) to hoax, to trick, to deceive, esp. when selling drugs.
see under whup v.
see separate entry.
SE in slang uses
[1940s+] (W.I.) a risible figure, a laughing-stock.