- Play means activity for fun or a dramatic performance.
- An example of play is building a house with blocks.
- An example of play is a performance of Shakespeare's Macbeth.
- Play is defined as to engage in activity for fun.
An example of play is to run around and play tag with friends.
- to move lightly, rapidly, or erratically; flutter: sunlight playing on the waves
- to amuse oneself, as by taking part in a game or sport; engage in recreation
- to take active part in a game or sport: not playing because of an injury
- to engage in a game for stakes; gamble
- to act, deal, or touch carelessly or lightly; trifle: with a thing or person
- Obsolete to engage in sexual activity; dally
- to perform on a musical instrument
- to give out sounds, esp. musical sounds: said of an instrument, phonograph or tape recorder, etc.
- to lend itself to performance: a drama that does not play well
- to act in a specified way; esp., to pretend to be: to play dumb
- to act in or as in a drama; perform on the stage
- to be performed or presented in a theater, on radio or TV, etc.: what movie is playing?
- to move freely within limits, as parts of a machine
- to be ejected, discharged, or directed repeatedly or continuously, as a fountain, a spotlight, etc.: with on, over, or along
- to impose unscrupulously (on another's feelings or susceptibilities)
- Informal to achieve acceptance, success, etc.
Origin: Middle English plein from Old English plegan, to play, be active
- to take part in (a game or sport)
- to be stationed at (a specified position) in a sport
- to oppose (a person, team, etc.) in a game or contest
- to enter or use (a player, etc.) in a game or contest
- to do (something), as in fun or to deceive: play tricks
- to bet
- ☆ to bet on: play the horses
- ☆ to act on the basis of: play a hunch
- ☆ to speculate in (the stock market)
- to cause to move, act, operate, etc.; wield; ply
- to put (a specified card) into play: to play an ace
- to cause or effect: to play havoc
- to perform (music)
- to perform on (a musical instrument)
- to cause (a phonograph, phonograph record, tape recorder, tape, etc.) to give out sounds, images, etc.
- to accompany or lead (someone) with music: with in, off, etc.
- to perform (a drama or dramatic passage)
- to act the part of: to play Iago, to play the fool
- to imitate the activities of, as children do for amusement: to play teacher, to play house
- ☆ to give performances in: to play Boston for a week
- to eject or direct (water, light, etc.) repeatedly or continuously (on, over, or along)
- to let (a hooked fish) tire itself by tugging at the line
- ☆ to use or exploit (a person): played him for a fool
- action, motion, or activity, esp. when free, rapid, or light: the play of muscles
- freedom or scope for motion or action, esp. of a mechanism
- activity engaged in for amusement or recreation; sport, games, etc.; often, specif., the natural activities of children
- fun; joking: to do a thing in play
- the playing of a game
- the way or technique of playing a game
- a maneuver, move, or act in a game; specif., a planned, coordinated action executed by members of a team during a game
- a turn at playing
- the act of gambling
- a dramatic composition or performance; drama
- Obsolete sexual activity; dalliance
- playable adjective
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb played, play·ing, plays verb, intransitive
- To occupy oneself in amusement, sport, or other recreation: children playing with toys.
- a. To take part in a game: No minors are eligible to play.b. To participate in betting; gamble.
- To act in jest or sport: They're not arguing in earnest, they're just playing.
- To deal or behave carelessly or indifferently; toy. See Synonyms at flirt.
- To behave or converse sportively or playfully.
- To act or conduct oneself in a specified way: play fair; an investor who plays cautiously.
- To act, especially in a dramatic production.
- Music a. To perform on an instrument: play on an accordion.b. To emit sound or be sounded in performance: The band is playing.
- To be performed, as in a theater or on television: A good movie is playing tonight.
- To be received or accepted: a speech that played poorly with the voters.
- To move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly: The breeze played on the water.
- To function or discharge uninterruptedly: The fountains played in the courtyard.
- To move or operate freely within a bounded space, as machine parts do.
- a. To perform or act (a role or part) in a dramatic performance.b. To assume the role of; act as: played the peacemaker at the meeting.
- To perform (a theatrical work) on or as if on the stage.
- To present a theatrical performance in (a given place): The company played Detroit last week.
- To pretend to be; mimic the activities of: played cowboy; played the star.
- a. To engage in (a game or sport): play hockey; play chess.b. To compete against in a game or sport.c. To occupy or work at (a position) in a game: Lou Gehrig played first base.d. To employ (a player) in a game or position: Let's play her at first base.e. To use or move (a card or piece) in a game: play the ace of clubsf. To hit (a ball, shot, or stroke), as in tennis: played a strong backhand.g. To attempt to keep or gain possession or control of: No foul was called because he was playing the ball.
- a. To bet; wager: played ten dollars on the horse.b. To make bets on: play the races.
- To perform or put into effect, especially as a jest or deception: play a joke on a friend.
- To handle; manage: played the matter quietly.
- To use or manipulate, especially for one's own interests: played his opponents against each other.
- Music a. To perform on (an instrument): play the guitar.b. To perform (a piece) on instruments or an instrument.
- To cause (a compact disk or audiocassette, for example) to emit recorded sounds.
- To discharge or direct in or as if in a continuous stream: play a hose on a fire.
- To cause to move rapidly, lightly, or irregularly: play lights over the dance floor.
- To exhaust (a hooked fish) by allowing it to pull on the line.
- a. A literary work written for performance on the stage; a drama.b. The performance of such a work.
- Activity engaged in for enjoyment or recreation.
- Fun or jesting: It was all done in play.
- a. The act or manner of engaging in a game or sport: After a time-out, play resumed. The golf tournament featured expert play.b. The act or manner of using a card, piece, or ball in a game or sport: my partner's play of the last trump; his clumsy play of the rebound.c. A move or an action in a game: It's your play. The runner was thrown out in a close play.
- Participation in betting; gambling.
- Manner of dealing with others; conduct: fair play.
- An attempt to obtain something; a bid: a play for sympathy.
- a. Action, motion, or use: the play of the imagination.b. Freedom or occasion for action; scope: give full play to an artist's talents. See Synonyms at room.
- Movement or space for movement, as of mechanical parts.
- Quick, often irregular movement or action, especially of light or color: the play of color on iridescent feathers.
Origin: Middle English playen, from Old English plegian; see dlegh- in Indo-European roots.
- playˌa·bilˈi·ty noun
- playˈa·ble adjective
play - Business Definition
play - Investment & Finance Definition
- An investment.
- See direct play.
play - Phrases/Idioms
in (or out of) play
make a play forInformal
- to employ one's arts and wiles in order to attract, esp. sexually
- to use all one's skill in order to obtain
play along (with)
- to engage in trifling activity
- to engage lightly in passing love affairs
- to be sexually unfaithful
- to participate in
- to pretend to be engaged in
- to perform or work at halfheartedly
play both ends against the middleâ
- to maneuver alternatives in order to win something, no matter what the outcome
- to play off opposing factions, etc. against one another to one's own profit
play catch-up ballâ
- worn out; exhausted
- to play according to the rules
- to behave honorably
play for time
play into someone's hands
- to pit (a person or thing) against another
- â in games, to break (a tie) by playing once more
- to react to or interact with, as in a drama
- Archaic to palm off
play one's cards wellor play one's cards right
play up to
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
play both ends against the middle
play fast and loose
play for time
play hard to get
play in Peoria
play into the hands of
play (one's) cards
play the field
play the game
play up to
play with a full deck
play with fire
play with (oneself)
- In a position to be legally or feasibly played: The ball is now in play.
- In a position, or rumored to be in a position of possible corporate takeover: The company's stock rose in price when it was said to be in play.
out of play