Canadian Game Shows Wiki
Bob McLean (1974–1975)
Jim Perry (1975–1989)
Jim Perry (1974–1975)
Dave Devall (1975–1989)
CTV (daily): 9/9/1974 – 3/10/1989
Glen-Warren Productions

"Definition: (insert clue). Solution: (insert answer). And our solution to 'fun with a pun on television' is DEFINITION! And now (insert funny line) the host/star of our show, BOB McLEAN/JIM PERRY!"

Definition was the "Give & Take" word puzzle game that's got fun with a pun.


Two teams of two (originally consisting of one celebrity and one contestant, switching to two contestants on December 16, 1985) competed in a word game similar to Hangman, but with clues called "definitions" and the answers being puns.

To start, the announcer gave the definition accompanied by the word puzzle and the host repeated it. The team in control chose a letter to "give away"; that's a letter they thought was not in the puzzle. If it wasn't, then they could choose a letter they thought was in the puzzle, a letter they could "take". Each time a chosen letter was revealed, either team could guess depending on what kind of letter it was. If it was a take away letter, the team that chose that letter got to guess; but if it was a give away letter, the opposing team got a guess and control stayed on them if they didn't guess right. Teams played back and forth until the puzzle was solved.

The first team to solve two puzzles (three starting sometime in 1986) won the match, a prize, and the right to solve a bonus puzzle for cash.

Bonus Definition[]

The winning team was given the definition to another puzzle, then the letters in that puzzle were revealed in alphabetical order from left to right. As soon as the team solved it, the contestant(s) received $10 for each unrevealed letter. If they failed to solve the puzzle, $10 was given as a consolation prize.

If, during the middle of the Bonus Definition that the time up bell signalling the end of the show is heard, the team is awarded the remaining money by default without having to solve the puzzle, and the solution is revealed immediately.

Winning players/teams stayed on the show for up to five matches. The fifth match had the contestants play for a bigger prize.


The show sometimes had American celebrities playing. For example, the week of November 19, 1979 had Audrey Landers as a guest.

Puzzles very rarely used punctuation. Based on fan recollection, one puzzle later in the run did involve a hyphen, which was revealed when the puzzle started.

The puzzle board initially accommodated a maximum of 24 characters, expanding to a 32-character maximum sometime in 1986.

During much of the series' final year on CTV, Jim Perry would give a "pun du jour" ("pun of the day" in French) - a humorous remark ending with a pun associated with the remark - during the final segment.

A home game version was released by Milton Bradley in 1981. It used many of the same components of both of their mid-1970's home adaptations of "Wheel of Fortune", such as the puzzle board and cardboard letter tiles.

Definition was referenced on MuchMoreMusic's series Back in, in which each episode focused on a year during the 1980s and 1990s. In the episode focusing on 1991, the show was referenced as part of a trivia question about the show's theme being used in the song "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style" by the Canadian recording act The Dream Warriors. Jim Perry's likeness was also shown in a still image, but based on its deep-red background, it appeared to be a still image of him hosting Card Sharks in the United States.

According to the 2020 documentary series The Search for Canada's Game Shows, no studio masters of Definition are known to exist, having all been tossed out or reused. It is not known whether celebrity clearance issues had a hand in this.

At 16 years, Definition was the longest-running of all the game shows hosted by Jim Perry. Perry's longest-running game show produced in the United States was Sale of the Century, which ran for about 6 years. To date, Definition is the longest-running game show ever produced in Canada.


1st Main - "Soul Bossa Nova" by Quincy Jones

Aside from the aforementioned song by The Dream Warriors, the original theme song was famously featured in the Austin Powers trilogy of films.

This original main theme was replaced by a synthesized version as early as 1983 or 1984 (an episode on YouTube supposedly from early 1983 still used the Quincy Jones version), though it is unknown why it was changed. This was in turn replaced by a version with more full instrumentation in 1985 or 1986.


Nick Nicholson and E. Roger Muir


Definition at BoardGameGeek