The Many Meanings of the Word 'Game'

Describing People
Idioms and Expressions. Creative / DigitalVision / Getty Images

The following idioms and expressions use 'game'. Each idiom or expression has a definition and two example sentences to help understand these common idiomatic expressions.

Ahead of the Game

Definition: To have an advantage over a situation

  • I need to get up early to keep ahead of the game.
  • Try studying 30 minutes before you go to bed to stay ahead of the game in math.
  • Can you give me any tips so I can keep ahead of the game at work?

At This Stage of the Game

Definition: At a certain point in a process

  • I think you should talk to a lawyer at this stage of the game.
  • He feels like he's sure to win at this stage of the game.
  • I'm not sure we're ready to launch the product at this stage of the game. 

Fair Game

Definition: Something that is allowed to take advantage of

  • I think it's fair game to enter that market.
  • She told me her friend wasn't fair game.
  • I've decided to not focus on that region. It's fair game if you want to take over.

Fun and Games

Definition: Enjoyable activities

  • You know working at a newspaper isn't all fun and games.
  • Let's make sure to enjoy the fun and games before we leave.
  • I think he was surprised that the new job wasn't all fun and games. 

Game That Two Can Play

Definition: Used generally to refer to a negative tactic that someone could also use to compete

  • You know that's a game that two can play. If you try it, I'll do the same to you.
  • She doesn't realize that she's playing a game that two can play. It will come back to bite her.
  • He warned me that my ratting her out to the teacher was a game two could play. 

Give the Game Away

Definition: Reveal a secret

  • If I tell you our plans, I'll give the game away.
  • He gave the game away when he said that he had been in New York on business.
  • Don't give the game away! We'll never get ahead if you tell everybody before we've even begun!

Name of the Game

Definition: The type of activity mentioned

  • Winning at any cost is the name of the game in finding a job these days.
  • Do you really think that being completely dishonest is the name of the game?
  • She feels that making the right connections is the name of the game in Hollywood. 

New Ball Game

Definition: A new situation

  • I think we've just entered a whole new ball game with that deal!
  • Remember that Chicago is a completely new ball game. It'll be very challenging.
  • Now that we've moved to Seattle, you'll have to remember that it's a whole new ball game. You can do anything you want.

The Game Is Up

Definition: The situation is lost and has a negative outcome

  • I realized the game was up and packed my bags to come home and start again.
  • She told him the game was up and that she was moving out.
  • Well, the game is up and we're going to have to close down the company.