Terms to Talk About Games and Exercises in English

When discussing games and exercises in English, a myriad of terms come into play. Whether you’re a coach, a player, an enthusiast, or simply someone looking to understand the language nuances in this arena, it’s essential to be familiar with the right terminology. This article dives deep into various categories of words and phrases commonly used when talking about games and exercises, helping you converse confidently and clearly in these contexts.

Table of Contents

Basic Game Terminology

Before diving into the advanced jargon, let’s start with some basic terms frequently used in gaming.

Word/PhraseMeaning/UsageExample Sentences
GameAn activity with rules in which people or teams compete“She won the game with a last-minute goal.”
PlayerA person participating in a game“The player scored three points.”
TeamA group of players playing together“Which team are you supporting?”
ScorePoints earned during a game“The final score was 3-2.”
WinTo achieve victory in a game“Our team managed to win at the last second.”
LoseTo not achieve victory“It’s okay to lose as long as you learn from it.”
TieEqual score for both sides“The game ended in a tie.”
Referee/UmpirePerson who ensures the rules are followed“The referee gave him a yellow card.”
OpponentA player/team competing against another“Our opponents were very strong today.”
StrategyA planned way of playing to win“Their strategy during the second half was brilliant.”
TimeoutA short break in the game“The coach called for a timeout.”

Physical Exercise Terms

When discussing workouts and physical health, these are the terms you might come across.

Word/PhraseMeaning/UsageExample Sentences
ExerciseActivity to improve health and fitness“Regular exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle.”
RepsShort for repetitions; the number of times an exercise is performed“Do three sets of 10 reps each.”
SetsA group of repetitions“I did four sets of squats today.”
Warm-upLight exercises to prepare the body“Always warm up before a workout.”
CardioExercises that raise your heart rate“Running is a great cardio workout.”
Strength trainingWorkouts to increase muscle strength“She focuses more on strength training.”
FlexibilityThe ability of joints to move freely“Yoga improves flexibility.”
AerobicsA form of exercise with rhythmic activities“Aerobics is fun and energetic.”
Cool downSlow exercises post workout“A good cool down helps prevent muscle soreness.”
StretchingExtending muscles to increase flexibility“Stretching is essential after a run.”
ResistanceOpposition force in strength training“Using resistance bands can amp up your workout.”

Board and Card Game Terms

The world of tabletop games has its unique set of terms.

Word/PhraseMeaning/UsageExample Sentences
DeckA set of cards“You need a standard deck to play poker.”
DiceSmall cubes with numbers used in games“Roll the dice to move your piece.”
StrategyA planned way of playing to win“Your strategy in chess is impressive.”
ShuffleTo mix cards randomly“Always shuffle the deck before dealing.”
HandThe cards held by a player“He had a good hand in the last round.”
BoardThe surface on which some games are played“Place your piece on the starting point of the board.”
Token/PieceItems representing players on a board“Move your token forward three spaces.”
TurnA player’s opportunity to make a move“Wait, it’s not your turn yet.”
DrawTo take a card from the deck“Draw three cards from the pile.”
DiscardTo get rid of a card from your hand“You have to discard one card before ending your turn.”
RulesSet guidelines on how a game is played“Always read the rules before starting a new game.”

Digital Gaming Vocabulary

Video games have grown exponentially and so has their language.

Word/PhraseMeaning/UsageExample Sentences
MultiplayerGame with more than one player“This game supports multiplayer mode.”
Single-playerGame designed for one player“The story mode is single-player only.”
OnlineConnected to the internet“We played online till late night.”
LevelA stage or phase in a video game“I’m stuck on level 5.”
ModModification to change game aspects“I downloaded a new mod for extra characters.”
NPCNon-player character in a game“The NPC gave me a new quest.”
SaveTo store game progress“Don’t forget to save your game.”
GlitchAn unintended fault in a game“I encountered a glitch and had to restart.”
PatchSoftware update to fix issues“The new patch improved graphics.”
FPSFirst-person shooter game genre“Call of Duty is a popular FPS.”
QuestA mission or task in a game“The new quest is really challenging.”

Adventure and Outdoor Activities

For those who prefer the thrill of outdoor activities and adventures.

Word/PhraseMeaning/UsageExample Sentences
HikingWalking in natural settings“We went hiking in the mountains last summer.”
ClimbingAscending a rock or mountain“Climbing requires good physical strength.”
TrekkingLong distance walking“The trekking route was breathtaking.”
CampingStaying overnight in tents outdoors“We set up a camp near the lake.”
RaftingNavigating waters on a raft“Rafting in the rapids was exhilarating.”
KayakingPaddling in a small boat“We went kayaking down the river.”
ParaglidingGliding in the air using a parachute“Paragliding gave me an adrenaline rush.”
SnorkelingSwimming with a snorkel to observe underwater life“Snorkeling in the coral reef was beautiful.”
Zip-liningSliding down a cable from a height“The zip-lining experience offered panoramic views.”
CavingExploring natural underground spaces“The caving expedition was mysterious and thrilling.”
Bungee jumpingJumping from a height with an elastic rope“Bungee jumping is not for the faint-hearted.”

Team Sports Jargon

Specific terms used predominantly in team sports.

Word/PhraseMeaning/UsageExample Sentences
OffsidePlayer positioned on opponent’s side“The referee called it offside.”
DribbleMoving a ball by repeated bounces“He dribbled past three defenders.”
TackleInterrupting an opponent with the ball“That was a clean tackle.”
PitchArea where a sport is played“The pitch was in excellent condition.”
ForwardPlayer positioned near opponent’s goal“The forward scored two goals.”
MidfielderPlayer positioned in the center“The midfielder controls the game flow.”
DefenderPlayer positioned to guard their goal“The defender blocked the shot.”
PenaltyPunishment for breaking a rule“The penalty shot was intense.”
GoalkeeperPlayer guarding the goal“The goalkeeper made an amazing save.”
FoulA breach of rules“He received a yellow card for that foul.”
PassSending the ball to another player“The pass was precise and on point.”

Individual Sports Terms

These are terms associated with sports that individuals participate in.

Word/PhraseMeaning/UsageExample Sentences
ServeStarting a point in tennis/badminton“Her serve was powerful and accurate.”
AceServe not touched by the opponent“He scored an ace.”
BackhandStroke made across the body“She has a strong backhand.”
BirdieA score in golf one under par“He got a birdie on the fifth hole.”
BogeyA score in golf one over par“A bogey set him back a bit.”
KnockoutDefeat an opponent so they can’t continue“It was a knockout in the third round.”
MarathonA long-distance running race“She trained for months for the marathon.”
SprintA short, fast race“He won the 100m sprint.”
DiveJumping into water headfirst“The dive was graceful and flawless.”
VaultGymnastics event using a horse-like apparatus“The gymnast performed a perfect vault.”
FreestyleA swimming style“He won the gold in freestyle swimming.”


Understanding the terminology of games and exercises helps you appreciate the intricacies of various activities and allows you to communicate effectively in those situations. Whether you’re involved in physical workouts, digital games, team sports, or adventurous outdoor activities, knowing the right words and their usage can enhance your experience.

Niaj A A Khan is an ESL Instructor with over 7 years of experience in teaching & developing resources at different universities and institutes. Mr. Khan is also a passionate writer working on his first book, "Learn English at Ease."

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