A game at cards, sometimes called cleek. Thus, in Epsom Wells, Dorothy says to Mrs. Bisket, “I'll make one at cleek, that's better than any two-handed game. ” Ben Jonson, in the Alchemist, speaks of gleek and primero as “the best games for the gallantest company.”
Gleek is played by three persons. Every deuce and trois is thrown out of the pack. Twelve cards are then dealt to each player, and eight are left for stock, which is offered in rotation to the players for purchase. The trumps are called Tiddy, Tumbler, Tib, Tom, and Towser. Gleek is the German gleich (like), intimating the point on which the game turns, gleek being three cards all alike, as three aces, three kings, etc.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894