a night playing games?

Anyone who has hosted a game night over video chat or ordered groceries to be delivered at home for the first time understands how profoundly the COVID-19 crisis has changed our behavior as consumers. But which of these changes will stick? We see several that are key:



There are a few [activity] night phrases that are commonly used to mean "a evening spent having fun doing [activity], usually with friends or family." The important implications are that the activity is fun and social.

Game night is an evening playing games, typically indoor games like board games, card games or charades. Usually it's assumed that one person is hosting several friends at their home (or that a family is playing together in their shared home). Sometimes the name of the game is used: poker night or D&D night for example. Under quarantine, game night has moved from being in-person to on-line in many cases, and that's what your referenced article is about.

Game night can also refer to watching an evening sporting event, either live or on television, again with the implication that it's a shared activity (either because you're watching in a group or because you're going to discuss the result with friends the next day). Fight night is similar and involves watching boxing or mixed martial arts. In Canada, the weekly hockey television broadcasts are called Hockey Night in Canada again referring to fun and trying to imply that watching hockey is a socially shared activity across the entire country.

Other constructions like this: movie night, date night, girls' night (meaning an evening of female friends having fun together). You can even use the name of a family meal (e.g., spaghetti night) with the implication that this meal is a particular favorite of most of the family.

  • Also related to pubs in the UK, and might be dominoes, cribbage, a quiz etc. and usually with people in teams of 2 or more. There might be sandwiches laid on, and a small prize from a kitty. Sep 17 '20 at 14:34
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    This is a good answer, but I think you put too much emphasis on the event being fun. Counter examples would seem to be: trash night, bath night, study night. Seems like any kind of event, fun or not, can be used in this phrase.
    – Juhasz
    Sep 17 '20 at 16:00
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    Agree this specific instance probably means some kind of tabletop game, but otherwise it is broader than you suggest. For example, it is "game night" for the football players as well as the people watching. We also have "game day", "trash day", and "tax day". Sep 17 '20 at 19:11
  • @user3067860 I don't think it's quite same. A game night (or movie night, etc.) is an event, like a dinner party. Trash day (or tax day, etc.) refers to a period of time during which some task or event is scheduled. You play charades at game night, but you file your taxes on tax day. At least this is how I use these phrases as an AmE speaker.
    – d_b
    Sep 17 '20 at 20:01
  • The 2018 movie Game Night exemplifies the concept rather well (and is also hilarious). Sep 18 '20 at 6:30

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