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(In a geriatric hospital, someone who seems to be a staff was playing a curling with an old woman who seems to be a patient in the hospital.)

A staff : You suck, Gertrude.

An old woman patient : You suck.

A staff : Yeah, I suck so bad I just skunked you. Which means, you gotta eat your pills. It's not my fault you got no game.

Question 1. To me, "you suck" sounds very very rude in this situation. I guess "You suck" is the vulgar way to say "You are terrible at something(in this case "playing game") Right? I want to know if while playing something like a game, they may say this to even older adults? Does sound natural to you English-native speaker?

Question 2. He said "you got no game". What does game mean in this? "Score"? or "ability of game" or "luck of the game"? Which one?

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is this happening in a TV show? My assumption is that it's a comedy, and part of the humor in the scene is that the staff member is extremely unprofessional toward the client. –  hunter Apr 23 at 16:10
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This kind of banter is often called "trash talk" and yes, if it is not between people who are already friends it would be considered very rude. –  Eric Lippert Apr 23 at 18:06

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

"You suck" or specifically "you suck at XXX" means indeed that somebody is very bad at something.

"You got no game" means "you do not have the skills to give me any competition in this game".

These expressions are certainly not to be used in any situation unless it is very informal!

This would normally only be said between good friends, in similar situations where other insulting expressions would also be allowed and appreciated.

So normally, this would not be a normal way for a medical staff member to address a patient, however, in some cases the staff forms a very informal relationship with (especially) elderly patients, because it helps them to communicate effectively with them. Even if there is no actual close relationship, it can sometimes help to address people as if they are part of a group of friends.

(In the example, the staff member had difficulties getting the patient to take her pill, so he challenged her to a game - probably knowing full well she would not win!)

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As for "you got no game", is it possible to paraphrase it into "you're no match for me."? Am I right? –  Bunch Son Apr 23 at 11:00
    
surprisingly, the verb skunk refers to defeat in a card game. Furthermore, you got 'no game' can also relate to the actual game, if they are playing. You got no game is not opposite to you are game instead, it'll be you aren't game I think. –  Maulik V Apr 23 at 11:04
    
@BunchSon: yes, that is a good way to paraphrase it :) –  oerkelens Apr 23 at 11:08
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@maulikV The opposite of You got no game is you got game. It's AAVE, with got equivalent to have got = "possess". It appears to have arisen in the 1970s: a pimp would say of a woman likely to be successful at 'the game' (prostitution) that she got game in her. In the 1990s it came to be applied to athletes, particularly basketball: he got game means he has exceptional ability. –  StoneyB Apr 23 at 15:28

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