5

(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?

2
  • 3
    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
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 16:10
  • 3
    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. Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 18:06

2 Answers 2

13

"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!)

4
  • As for "you got no game", is it possible to paraphrase it into "you're no match for me."? Am I right?
    – Bunch Son
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 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
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 11:04
  • @BunchSon: yes, that is a good way to paraphrase it :)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 11:08
  • 1
    @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. Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 15:28
0

Th phrase makes no sense in the English language unless as a statement of fact. Q. "How do I drink this?" A. "You suck the liquid through a straw"

to suck is to 'draw into the mouth by contracting the muscles of the lips and mouth to make a partial vacuum.'

Only in the USA has this meaning been mangled to indicate that something is bad. Interpreting it as a colloquialism, it is more generally assumed to be a reference to oral sex, and so by extension the phrase becomes 'you are the sort of person who would perform oral sex upon another person'

Hence it is extremely offensive, and in some societies would possibly be cause for arrest, trial.... and the rest.

There are better ways to express oneself which are less likely to offend others or end up in a foreign gaol.

2
  • I agree that it's rude, but I think you should make that the core of your answer and remove some of the introductory part.
    – CDR
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 12:28
  • I understand your critique, but unless there is some understanding of the derivation, the current colloquial use becomes orphaned over time. Phrases such as ‘sod it’ are used without a full appreciation of what is being said. In our non secular society even ‘damn’ isn’t understood in it’s all embracing richness Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 13:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .