- 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.
ME plein < OE plegan, to play, be active