Play meaning

plā
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.

noun
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Play is defined as to engage in activity for fun.

An example of play is to run around and play tag with friends.

verb
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To cause to move rapidly, lightly, or irregularly.

Play lights over the dance floor.

verb
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To occupy oneself in an activity for amusement or recreation.

Children playing with toys.

verb
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To act or conduct oneself in a specified way.

Play fair; an investor who plays cautiously.

verb
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To act, especially in a dramatic production.
verb
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To be performed, as in a theater or on television.

A good movie is playing tonight.

verb
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To be received or accepted.

A speech that played poorly with the voters.

verb
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To move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly.

The breeze played on the water.

verb
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To function or discharge uninterruptedly.

The fountains played in the courtyard.

verb
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To move or operate freely within a bounded space, as machine parts do.
verb
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To cause (a movie, audiotape, or other recording) to be presented in audible or visible form.
verb
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To discharge or direct in a certain direction.

Played the water on the burning roof.

verb
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To exhaust (a hooked fish) by allowing it to pull on the line.
verb
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Activity engaged in for enjoyment or recreation.
noun
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Fun or jesting.

It was all done in play.

noun
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Participation in betting; gambling.
noun
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Manner of dealing with others; conduct.

Fair play.

noun
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An attempt to obtain something; a bid.

A play for sympathy.

noun
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Movement or space for movement, as of mechanical parts.
noun
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Quick, often irregular movement or action, especially of light or color.

The play of color on iridescent feathers.

noun
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A control mechanism on an audio or video player that starts or resumes the audible or visual presentation of a recording.
noun
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A geological deposit, as of oil or natural gas, considered as a prospect for commercial extraction.
noun
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To occupy oneself in an activity for amusement or recreation.

Children playing with toys.

verb
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To act or conduct oneself in a specified way.

Play fair; an investor who plays cautiously.

verb
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To act, especially in a dramatic production.
verb
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To be performed, as in a theater or on television.

A good movie is playing tonight.

verb
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To be received or accepted.

A speech that played poorly with the voters.

verb
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To move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly.

The breeze played on the water.

verb
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To function or discharge uninterruptedly.

The fountains played in the courtyard.

verb
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To move or operate freely within a bounded space, as machine parts do.
verb
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To cause (a movie, audiotape, or other recording) to be presented in audible or visible form.
verb
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To discharge or direct in a certain direction.

Played the water on the burning roof.

verb
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To cause to move rapidly, lightly, or irregularly.

Play lights over the dance floor.

verb
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To exhaust (a hooked fish) by allowing it to pull on the line.
verb
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Activity engaged in for enjoyment or recreation.
noun
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Fun or jesting.

It was all done in play.

noun
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Participation in betting; gambling.
noun
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Manner of dealing with others; conduct.

Fair play.

noun
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An attempt to obtain something; a bid.

A play for sympathy.

noun
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Movement or space for movement, as of mechanical parts.
noun
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Quick, often irregular movement or action, especially of light or color.

The play of color on iridescent feathers.

noun
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A control mechanism on an audio or video player that starts or resumes the audible or visual presentation of a recording.
noun
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A geological deposit, as of oil or natural gas, considered as a prospect for commercial extraction.
noun
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To move lightly, rapidly, or erratically; flutter.

Sunlight playing on the waves.

verb
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To amuse oneself, as by taking part in a game or sport; engage in recreation.
verb
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To take active part in a game or sport.

Not playing because of an injury.

verb
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To engage in a game for stakes; gamble.
verb
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To perform on a musical instrument.
verb
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To produce or reproduce sounds, esp. musical sounds.
verb
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To lend itself to performance.

A drama that does not play well.

verb
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To act in a specified way; esp., to pretend to be.

To play dumb.

verb
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To act in or as in a drama; perform on the stage.
verb
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To be performed or presented in a theater, on radio or TV, etc.

What movie is playing?

verb
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To move freely within limits, as parts of a machine.
verb
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To be ejected, discharged, or directed repeatedly or continuously, as a fountain, a spotlight, etc.
verb
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To impose unscrupulously (on another's feelings or susceptibilities)
verb
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To achieve acceptance, success, etc.
verb
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To oppose (a person, team, etc.) in a game or contest.
verb
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To enter or use (a player, etc.) in a game or contest.
verb
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To do (something), as in fun or to deceive.

Play tricks.

verb
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To speculate in (the stock market)
verb
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To cause to move, act, operate, etc.; wield; ply.
verb
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To put (a specified card) into play.

To play an ace.

verb
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To cause or effect.

To play havoc.

verb
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To perform (music)
verb
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To accompany or lead (someone) with music.
verb
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To perform (a drama or dramatic passage)
verb
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To act the part of.

To play Iago, to play the fool.

verb
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To imitate the activities of, as children do for amusement.

To play teacher, to play house.

verb
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To give performances in.

To play Boston for a week.

verb
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To eject or direct (water, light, etc.) repeatedly or continuously (on, over, or along)
verb
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To let (a hooked fish) tire itself by tugging at the line.
verb
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To use or exploit (a person)

Played him for a fool.

verb
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Action, motion, or activity, esp. when free, rapid, or light.

The play of muscles.

noun
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Freedom or scope for motion or action, esp. of a mechanism.
noun
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Activity engaged in for amusement or recreation; sport, games, etc.; often, specif., the natural activities of children.
noun
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Fun; joking.

To do a thing in play.

noun
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The act of gambling.
noun
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A dramatic composition or performance; drama.
noun
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Publicity or notice, esp. in the news media.
noun
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Sexual activity; dalliance.
noun
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Not real; make-believe.

A board game using play money.

adjective
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(intransitive) To act in a manner such that one has fun; to engage in activities expressly for the purpose of recreation.

They played long and hard.

verb
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(intransitive) To take part in amorous activity; to make love, fornicate; to have sex.
verb
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(intransitive) To perform in a sport.

He plays on three teams; who's playing now?

verb
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To participate in the game indicated.

Play football; play sports; play games.

verb
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To compete against, in a game.
verb
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To act as the indicated role, especially in a performance.

He plays the King, and she's the Queen.

No part of the brain plays the role of permanent memory.

verb
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(intransitive) To produce music using a musical instrument.

I've practiced the piano off and on, and I still can't play very well.

verb
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(ergative) To produce music on the indicated musical instrument.

I'll play the piano and you sing; can you play an instrument?

verb
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(ergative) To produce music, the indicated song or style, with a musical instrument.

We especially like to play jazz together; play a song for me; do you know how to play Für Elise?; my son thinks he can play music.

verb
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(ergative) To use a device to watch or listen to the indicated recording.

You can play the DVD now.

verb
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(copulative) Contrary to fact, to give an appearance of being.
verb
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(intransitive) To act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be careless.
verb
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(intransitive) To act; to behave; to practice deception.
verb
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(intransitive) To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate.

The fountain plays.

verb
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(intransitive) To move gaily; to disport.
verb
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To put in action or motion.

To play cannon upon a fortification.

To play a trump in a card game.

verb
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To bring into sportive or wanton action; to exhibit in action; to execute.

To play tricks.

verb
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To act or perform (a play).

To play a comedy.

verb
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To keep in play, as a hooked fish, in order to land it.
verb
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(uncountable) Activity for amusement only, especially among the young.
noun
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(uncountable) Similar activity, in young animals, as they explore their environment and learn new skills.
noun
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(uncountable, ethology) "Repeated, incompletely functional behavior differing from more serious versions ..., and initiated voluntarily when ... in a low-stress setting."
noun
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The conduct, or course of a game.
noun
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(countable) An individual's performance in a sport or game.
noun
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(countable) (turn-based games) An action carried out when it is one's turn to play.
noun
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(countable) A literary composition, intended to be represented by actors impersonating the characters and speaking the dialogue.
noun
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(countable) A theatrical performance featuring actors.

We saw a two-act play in the theatre.

noun
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(countable) A major move by a business.
noun
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(countable) A geological formation that contains an accumulation or prospect of hydrocarbons or other resources.
noun
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(uncountable) The extent to which a part of a mechanism can move freely.

No wonder the fanbelt is slipping: there's too much play in it.

Too much play in a steering wheel may be dangerous.

noun
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(uncountable, informal) Sexual role-playing.
noun
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(countable) A button that, when pressed, causes media to be played.
noun
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in play
  • 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.
idiom
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out of play
  • Not in a position to be legally or feasibly played.
idiom
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play ball
  • To cooperate:.
    The opposing attorneys refused to play ball with us.
idiom
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play both ends against the middle
  • To set opposing parties or interests against one another so as to advance one's own goals.
idiom
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play fast and loose
  • To behave in a recklessly irresponsible or deceitful manner:.
    Played fast and loose with the facts.
idiom
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play for time
  • To use delaying tactics; temporize.
idiom
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play games
  • To be evasive or deceptive:.
    Quit playing games and tell me what you want.
idiom
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play hard to get
  • To pretend to be uninterested in a romantic relationship.
idiom
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play in Peoria
  • To be acceptable to average constituents or consumers.
idiom
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play into (someone's) hands
  • To act or behave so as to give an advantage to an opponent.
idiom
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play it by ear
  • To act according to the circumstances; improvise:.
    I don't have a set schedule, so we'll have to play it by ear.
idiom
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play (one's) cards
  • To use the resources or strategies at one's disposal:.
    Played her cards right and got promoted.
idiom
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play possum
  • To pretend to be sleeping or dead.
idiom
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play the field
  • To date more than one person at the same time.
idiom
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play the game
  • To behave according to the accepted customs or standards.
idiom
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play up to
  • To curry favor with.
idiom
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play with a full deck
  • To be of sound mind:.
    Didn't seem to be playing with a full deck.
idiom
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play with fire
  • To take part in a dangerous or risky undertaking.
idiom
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play with (oneself)
  • To masturbate.
idiom
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in play
  • 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.
idiom
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out of play
  • Not in a position to be legally or feasibly played.
idiom
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play ball
  • To cooperate:.
    The opposing attorneys refused to play ball with us.
idiom
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play both ends against the middle
  • To set opposing parties or interests against one another so as to advance one's own goals.
idiom
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play fast and loose
  • To behave in a recklessly irresponsible or deceitful manner:.
    Played fast and loose with the facts.
idiom
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play for time
  • To use delaying tactics; temporize.
idiom
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play games
  • To be evasive or deceptive:.
    Quit playing games and tell me what you want.
idiom
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play hard to get
  • To pretend to be uninterested in a romantic relationship.
idiom
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play in Peoria
  • To be acceptable to average constituents or consumers.
idiom
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play into (someone's) hands
  • To act or behave so as to give an advantage to an opponent.
idiom
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play it by ear
  • To act according to the circumstances; improvise:.
    I don't have a set schedule, so we'll have to play it by ear.
idiom
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play (one's) cards
  • To use the resources or strategies at one's disposal:.
    Played her cards right and got promoted.
idiom
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play possum
  • To pretend to be sleeping or dead.
idiom
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play the field
  • To date more than one person at the same time.
idiom
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play the game
  • To behave according to the accepted customs or standards.
idiom
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play up to
  • To curry favor with.
idiom
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play with a full deck
  • To be of sound mind:.
    Didn't seem to be playing with a full deck.
idiom
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play with fire
  • To take part in a dangerous or risky undertaking.
idiom
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play with (oneself)
  • To masturbate.
idiom
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bring (or come) into play
  • To make (or become) implicated, involved, pertinent, etc.
idiom
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in (or out of) play
  • Eligible (or not eligible) for continued play, as by being in (or out) of bounds.
idiom
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make a play for
  • To employ one's arts and wiles in order to attract, esp. sexually.
  • To use all one's skill in order to obtain.
idiom
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play along
  • To join in or cooperate, or to pretend to do so.
idiom
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play around
  • To engage in trifling activity.
idiom
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play at
  • To participate in.
  • To pretend to be engaged in.
  • To perform or work at halfheartedly.
idiom
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play back
  • To audibly reproduce or cause to audibly reproduce (sounds, images, etc.) that have been recorded on (a tape, disc, etc.).
idiom
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play both ends against the middle
  • 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.
idiom
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play catch-up ball
  • To adjust one's style of play so as to make up for a lack of points, runs, etc.
idiom
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play down
  • To attach little importance, or give little publicity, to; minimize.
idiom
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play fair
  • To play according to the rules.
  • To behave honorably.
idiom
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play favorites
  • To engage in favoritism.
idiom
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play for time
  • To maneuver so as to delay an outcome, gain a respite, etc.
idiom
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play into someone's hands
  • To act in such a way as to give the advantage to someone.
idiom
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play it
  • To act in a (specified) manner.
    To play it smart.
idiom
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play off
  • To pit (a person or thing) against another.
  • In games, to break (a tie) by playing once more.
  • To react to or interact with, as in a drama.
  • To palm off.
idiom
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play one's cards well
  • To use one's resources in the most effective manner.
idiom
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play out
  • To play to the finish.
  • To develop and eventually conclude.
  • pay out (see phrase under pay).
idiom
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play up
  • To emphasize or give prominence to.
idiom
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play through
  • To pass another foursome or group with their permission, while playing a round of golf.
idiom
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play up to
  • To try to please by flattery, etc.
idiom
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play with oneself
  • To masturbate.
idiom
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Origin of play

  • Middle English playen from Old English plegian dlegh- in Indo-European roots
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • Middle English playen from Old English plegian dlegh- in Indo-European roots
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • From Middle English playen, pleyen, pleȝen, plæien, also Middle English plaȝen, plawen (> English plaw), from Old English pleÄ¡an, pleoÄ¡an, plæġan, and Old English pleÄ¡ian, pleaÄ¡ian, plagian (“to play, move about sportively, frolic, dance; move rapidly; divert or amuse oneself, occupy or busy oneself; play a game, sport with, exercise, exercise one's self in any way for the sake of amusement; play with; play with a person, toy; strive after; play on an instrument; contend, fight; clap the hands, applaud; make sport of, mock; cohabit (with)"), from Proto-Germanic *pleganÄ…, *plehanÄ… (“to care about, be concerned with") and Proto-Germanic *plegōnÄ… (“to engage, move"); both perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *blek- (“to move, move about"), from Proto-Indo-European *bal- (compare Ancient Greek βλύω (bluō), βλύζω (bluzō, “I gush out, spring"), Sanskrit बल्बलीति (balbalÄ«ti, “it whirls, twirls")). Cognate with Scots play (“to act or move briskly, cause to move, stir"), Saterland Frisian plegia (“to look after, care for, maintain"), West Frisian pleegje, pliigje (“to commit, perform, bedrive"), Middle Dutch pleyen ("to dance, leap for joy, rejoice, be glad"; > Modern Dutch pleien (“to play a particular children's game")), Dutch plegen (“to commit, bedrive, practice"), German pflegen (“to care for, be concerned with, attend to, tend"), Danish pleie (“to tend to, nurse"), Swedish pläga (“to be wont to, be accustomed to"). Related also to Old English plÄ“on (“to risk, endanger"). More at plight, pledge.
    From Wiktionary
  • The noun is from Middle English pleye, from Old English plæġ, pleÄ¡a, plæġa (“play, quick motion, movement, exercise; (athletic) sport, game; festivity, drama; battle; gear for games, an implement for a game; clapping with the hands, applause"), deverbative of pleÄ¡ian (“to play"); see above.
    From Wiktionary