Warren Clements in The Globe and Mail waxes long on the origin and use of the word “game” in non-play contexts. I wrote something similar once, about the misappropriation of the word “game”.

The noun “game” dates from the Old English gamen, borrowed from the Germanic tongues and lingering in the word backgammon. Writer John Ayto says gamen may have derived from “a prehistoric Germanic compound formed from the collective prefix ga- and mann – ‘person’ (source of English man) – and denoting literally ‘people together, participating.’ ” People together get up to all sorts of things, which explains why game was used as a euphemism for sexual intercourse. James Boswell used it that way in his journal entry for Jan. 12, 1763: “Proud of my godlike vigour, I soon resumed the noble game. … [Louisa] declared I was a prodigy.” The analogy continues to this day, when men successful in seducing women are said to have scored. The word has even turned pro; prostitutes were said to be on the game.