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Adjacent Words

Plauen im Vogtland
Plautus alle
play a joke on
play a trick on
Play actor
play along
play around
play around with
play at
play back
play ball
play both ends against the middle
play by ear
play cards right
Play debt
play down

Play definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

PLAY, v.i.
1. To use any exercise for pleasure or recreation; to do something not as a task or for profit, but for amusement; as, to play at cricket.
The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. Exodus 32.
2. To sport; to frolick; to frisk.
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
3. To toy; to act with levity.
4. To trifle; to act wantonly and thoughtlessly.
Men are apt to play with their healths and their lives as they do with their clothes.
5. To do something fanciful; to give a fanciful turn to; as, to play upon words.
6. To make sport,or practice sarcastic merriment.
I would make use of it rather to play upon those I despise,than trifle with those I love.
7. To mock; to practice illusion.
Art thou alive,
Or is it fancy plays upon our eyesight?
8. To contend in a game; as, to play at cards or dice; to play for diversion; to play for money.
9. To practice a trick or deception.
His mother played false with a smith.
10. To perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a flute, a violin or a harpsichord.
Play, my friend, and charm the charmer.
11. To move, or to move with alternate dilatation and contraction.
The heart beats, the blood circulates, the lungs play.
12. To operate; to act. The engines play against a fire.
13. To move irregularly; to wanton.
Ev'n as the waving sedges play with wind.
The setting sun
Plays on their shining arms and burnish'd helmets.
All fame is foreign, but of true desert,
Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart.
14. To act a part on the stage; to personate a character.
A lord will hear you play to-night.
15. To represent a standing character.
Courts are theaters where some men play.
16. To act in any particular character; as, to play the fool; to play the woman; to play the man.
17. To move in any manner; to move one way and another; as any part of a machine.
PLAY, v.t. To put in action or motion; as, to play cannon or a fire-engine.
1. To use an instrument of music; as, to play the flute or the organ.
2. To act a sportive part or character.
Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will
Her virgin fancies.
3. To act or perform by representing a character; as, to play a comedy; to play the part of king Lear.
4. To act; to perform; as, to play our parts well on the stage of life.
5. To perform in contest for amusement or for a prize; as, to play a game at whist.
To play off, to display; to show; to put in exercise; as, to play off tricks.
To play on or upon, to deceive; to mock or to trifle with.
1. To give a fanciful turn to.
PLAY, n. Any exercise or series of actions intended for pleasure, amusement or diversion, as at cricket or quoit, or at blind man's buff.
1. Amusement; sport; frolic; gambols.
Two gentle fawns at play.
2. Game; gaming; practice of contending for victory, for amusement or for a prize, as at dice, cards or billiards.
3. Practice in any contest; as sword-play.
He was resolved not to speak distinctly, knowing his best play to be in the dark.
John naturally loved rough play.
4. Action; use; employment; office.
--But justifies the next who comes in play.
5. Practice; action; manner of acting in contest or negotiation; as fair play; foul play.
6. A dramatic composition; a comedy or tragedy; a composition in which characters are represented by dialogue and action.
A play ought to be a just image of human nature.
7. Representation or exhibition of a comedy or tragedy; as, to be at the play. He attends every play.
8. Performance on an instrument of music.
9. Motion; movement, regular or irregular; as the play of a wheel or piston.
10. State of agitation or discussion.
Many have been sav'd, and many may,
Who never heard this question brought in play.

11. Room for motion.
The joints are let exactly into one another, that they have no play between them.
12. Liberty of acting; room for enlargement or display; scope; as, to give full play to mirth. Let the genius have free play.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage; "he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway" [syn: play, drama, dramatic play]
2: a theatrical performance of a drama; "the play lasted two hours"
3: a preset plan of action in team sports; "the coach drew up the plays for her team"
4: a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill; "he made a great maneuver"; "the runner was out on a play by the shortstop" [syn: maneuver, manoeuvre, play]
5: a state in which action is feasible; "the ball was still in play"; "insiders said the company's stock was in play"
6: utilization or exercise; "the play of the imagination"
7: an attempt to get something; "they made a futile play for power"; "he made a bid to gain attention" [syn: bid, play]
8: activity by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules; "Freud believed in the utility of play to a small child" [syn: play, child's play]
9: (in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds; "rain stopped play in the 4th inning" [syn: playing period, period of play, play]
10: the removal of constraints; "he gave free rein to his impulses"; "they gave full play to the artist's talent" [syn: free rein, play]
11: a weak and tremulous light; "the shimmer of colors on iridescent feathers"; "the play of light on the water" [syn: shimmer, play]
12: verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously); "he became a figure of fun"; "he said it in sport" [syn: fun, play, sport]
13: movement or space for movement; "there was too much play in the steering wheel" [syn: looseness, play] [ant: tautness, tightness]
14: gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement; "it was all done in play"; "their frolic in the surf threatened to become ugly" [syn: play, frolic, romp, gambol, caper]
15: (game) the activity of doing something in an agreed succession; "it is my turn"; "it is still my play" [syn: turn, play]
16: the act of playing for stakes in the hope of winning (including the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize); "his gambling cost him a fortune"; "there was heavy play at the blackjack table" [syn: gambling, gaming, play]
17: the act using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and skillfully [syn: play, swordplay] v
1: participate in games or sport; "We played hockey all afternoon"; "play cards"; "Pele played for the Brazilian teams in many important matches"
2: act or have an effect in a specified way or with a specific effect or outcome; "This factor played only a minor part in his decision"; "This development played into her hands"; "I played no role in your dismissal"
3: play on an instrument; "The band played all night long"
4: play a role or part; "Gielgud played Hamlet"; "She wants to act Lady Macbeth, but she is too young for the role"; "She played the servant to her husband's master" [syn: act, play, represent]
5: be at play; be engaged in playful activity; amuse oneself in a way characteristic of children; "The kids were playing outside all day"; "I used to play with trucks as a little girl"
6: replay (as a melody); "Play it again, Sam"; "She played the third movement very beautifully" [syn: play, spiel]
7: perform music on (a musical instrument); "He plays the flute"; "Can you play on this old recorder?"
8: pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind; "He acted the idiot"; "She plays deaf when the news are bad" [syn: act, play, act as]
9: move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly; "The spotlights played on the politicians"
10: bet or wager (money); "He played $20 on the new horse"; "She plays the races"
11: engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion; "On weekends I play"; "The students all recreate alike" [syn: play, recreate]
12: pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity; "Let's play like I am mommy"; "Play cowboy and Indians"
13: emit recorded sound; "The tape was playing for hours"; "the stereo was playing Beethoven when I entered"
14: perform on a certain location; "The prodigy played Carnegie Hall at the age of 16"; "She has been playing on Broadway for years"
15: put (a card or piece) into play during a game, or act strategically as if in a card game; "He is playing his cards close to his chest"; "The Democrats still have some cards to play before they will concede the electoral victory"
16: engage in an activity as if it were a game rather than take it seriously; "They played games on their opponents"; "play the stock market"; "play with her feelings"; "toy with an idea" [syn: play, toy]
17: behave in a certain way; "play safe"; "play it safe"; "play fair"
18: cause to emit recorded audio or video; "They ran the tapes over and over again"; "I'll play you my favorite record"; "He never tires of playing that video" [syn: play, run]
19: manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination; "She played nervously with her wedding ring"; "Don't fiddle with the screws"; "He played with the idea of running for the Senate" [syn: toy, fiddle, diddle, play]
20: use to one's advantage; "She plays on her clients' emotions"
21: consider not very seriously; "He is trifling with her"; "She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania" [syn: dally, trifle, play]
22: be received or accepted or interpreted in a specific way; "This speech didn't play well with the American public"; "His remarks played to the suspicions of the committee"
23: behave carelessly or indifferently; "Play about with a young girl's affection" [syn: dally, toy, play, flirt]
24: cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space; "The engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack"
25: perform on a stage or theater; "She acts in this play"; "He acted in `Julius Caesar'"; "I played in `A Christmas Carol'" [syn: act, play, roleplay, playact]
26: be performed or presented for public viewing; "What's playing in the local movie theater?"; "`Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years"
27: cause to happen or to occur as a consequence; "I cannot work a miracle"; "wreak havoc"; "bring comments"; "play a joke"; "The rain brought relief to the drought-stricken area" [syn: bring, work, play, wreak, make for]
28: discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream; "play water from a hose"; "The fountains played all day"
29: make bets; "Play the races"; "play the casinos in Trouville"
30: stake on the outcome of an issue; "I bet $100 on that new horse"; "She played all her money on the dark horse" [syn: bet, wager, play]
31: shoot or hit in a particular manner; "She played a good backhand last night"
32: use or move; "I had to play my queen"
33: employ in a game or in a specific position; "They played him on first base"
34: contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle; "Princeton plays Yale this weekend"; "Charlie likes to play Mary" [syn: meet, encounter, play, take on]
35: exhaust by allowing to pull on the line; "play a hooked fish"

Merriam Webster's

I. noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English plega; akin to Old English plegan to play, Middle Dutch pleyen Date: before 12th century 1. a. swordplay b. archaic game, sport c. the conduct, course, or action of a game d. a particular act or maneuver in a game: as (1) the action during an attempt to advance the ball in football (2) the action in which a player is put out in baseball e. the action in which cards are played after bidding in a card game f. the moving of a piece in a board game (as chess) g. one's turn in a game <it's your play> 2. a. obsolete sexual intercourse b. amorous flirtation ; dalliance 3. a. recreational activity; especially the spontaneous activity of children b. absence of serious or harmful intent ; jest <said it in play> c. the act or an instance of playing on words or speech sounds d. gaming, gambling 4. a. (1) an act, way, or manner of proceeding ; maneuver <that was a play to get your fingerprints Erle Stanley Gardner> (2) deal, venture b. (1) the state of being active, operative, or relevant <other motives surely come into play M. R. Cohen> <several issues are at play> (2) brisk, fitful, or light movement <the gem presented a dazzling play of colors> (3) free or unimpeded motion (as of a part of a machine); also the length or measure of such motion (4) scope or opportunity for action (5) a function of an electronic device that causes a recording to play 5. emphasis or publicity especially in the news media <wished the country received a better play in the American press Hugh MacLennan> 6. a move or series of moves calculated to arouse friendly feelings usually used with make <made a big play for the girl Will Herman> 7. a. the stage representation of an action or story b. a dramatic composition ; drama Synonyms: see fun II. intransitive verb Date: before 12th century 1. a. to engage in sport or recreation ; frolic b. to have sexual relations; especially to have promiscuous or illicit sexual relations usually used in the phrase play around c. (1) to move aimlessly about ; trifle (2) to toy or fiddle around with something <played with her food> (3) to deal or behave frivolously or mockingly ; jest (4) to deal in a light, speculative, or sportive manner (5) to make use of double meaning or of the similarity of sound of two words for stylistic or humorous effect 2. a. to take advantage <playing on fears> b. (1) flutter, frisk (2) to move or operate in a lively, irregular, or intermittent manner c. to move or function freely within prescribed limits d. to produce a stream <hoses playing on a fire> 3. a. (1) to perform music <play on a violin> (2) to sound in performance <the organ is playing> (3) to emit sounds <the radio is playing> (4) to reproduce recorded sounds <a record is playing> b. (1) to act in a dramatic production (2) show, run <what's playing at the theater> c. to be suitable for dramatic performance d. to act with special consideration so as to gain favor, approval, or sympathy <might play to popular prejudices to serve his political ends V. L. Parrington> often used in the phrase play up to e. to produce a specified impression in performance <a movie that plays like a sitcom> 4. a. to engage or take part in a game b. to perform in a position in a specified manner <the outfielders were playing deep> c. to perform an action during one's turn in a game d. gamble e. (1) to behave or conduct oneself in a specified way <play safe> (2) to feign a specified state or quality <play dead> (3) to take part in or assent to some activity ; cooperate <play along with his scheme> (4) to act so as to prove advantageous to another usually used in the phrase play into the hands of 5. to gain approval ; go over <her idea did not play well> transitive verb 1. a. (1) to engage in or occupy oneself with <play baseball> (2) to engage in (an activity) as a game (3) to deal with, handle, or manage (4) exploit, manipulate b. to pretend to engage in the activities of <play war> <children playing house> c. (1) to amount to by one's efforts <played an important role in their success> (2) to perform or execute for amusement or to deceive or mock <play a trick> (3) wreak <play havoc> (4) to use or introduce as a political or rhetorical strategy <play the national security card> 2. a. (1) to put on a performance of (a play) (2) to act in the character or part of (3) to act or perform in <played leading theaters> b. to perform or act the part of <play the fool> 3. a. (1) to contend against in or as if in a game (2) to use as a contestant in a game <the coach did not play him> (3) to perform the duties associated with (a certain position) <played quarterback> (4) to guard or move into position to defend against (an opponent) in a specified manner b. (1) to wager in a game ; stake (2) to make wagers on <play the races> (3) to speculate on or in <play the stock market> (4) to operate on the basis of <play a hunch> c. to put into action in a game; especially to remove (a playing card) from one's hand and place usually faceup on a table in one's turn either as part of a scoring combination or as one's contribution to a trick d. to catch or pick up (a batted ball) ; field <played the ball bare-handed> e. to direct the course of (as a ball) ; hit <played a wedge shot to the green>; also to cause (a ball or puck) to rebound <played the ball off the backboard> 4. a. to perform (music) on an instrument <play a waltz> b. to perform music on <play the violin> c. to perform music of (a certain composer) d. (1) to cause (as a radio or phonograph) to emit sounds (2) to cause the recorded sound or image of (as a record or a magnetic tape) to be reproduced 5. a. wield, ply b. to discharge, fire, or set off with continuous effect <played the hose on the burning building> c. to cause to move or operate lightly and irregularly or intermittently d. to keep (a hooked fish) in action playability noun playable adjective

Britannica Concise

In zoology, actions that have all the elements of purposeful behavior but are performed for no apparent reason. Play has been documented only among mammals and birds. It is most common among immature animals, but adult animals also play. Horses, cattle, and other ungulates run and kick up their heels even when not fleeing from predators or defending themselves. Dogs adopt an aggressive posture to entice others to join in mock combat. Otters are well known for their mudsliding. Male birds may spontaneously perform their territorial songs when there is no intruding rival.

Oxford Reference Dictionary

v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by with) occupy or amuse oneself pleasantly with some recreation, game, exercise, etc. 2 intr. (foll. by with) act light-heartedly or flippantly (with feelings etc.). 3 tr. a perform on or be able to perform on (a musical instrument). b perform (a piece of music etc.). c cause (a record, record-player, etc.) to produce sounds. 4 a intr. (foll. by in) perform a role in (a drama etc.). b tr. perform (a drama or role) on stage, or in a film or broadcast. c tr. give a dramatic performance at (a particular theatre or place). 5 tr. act in real life the part of (play truant; play the fool). 6 tr. (foll. by on) perform (a trick or joke etc.) on (a person). 7 tr. (foll. by for) regard (a person) as (something specified) (played me for a fool). 8 intr. colloq. participate, cooperate; do what is wanted (they won't play). 9 intr. gamble. 10 tr. gamble on. 11 tr. a take part in (a game or recreation). b compete with (another player or team) in a game. c occupy (a specified position) in a team for a game. d (foll. by in, on, at, etc.) assign (a player) to a position. 12 tr. move (a piece) or display (a playing-card) in one's turn in a game. 13 tr. (also absol.) strike (a ball etc.) or execute (a stroke) in a game. 14 intr. move about in a lively or unrestrained manner. 15 intr. (often foll. by on) a touch gently. b emit light, water, etc. (fountains gently playing). 16 tr. allow (a fish) to exhaust itself pulling against a line. 17 intr. (often foll. by at) a engage in a half-hearted way (in an activity). b pretend to be. 18 intr. (of a cricket ground etc.) be conducive to play as specified (the pitch is playing fast). 19 intr. colloq. act or behave (as specified) (play fair). 20 tr. (foll. by in, out, etc.) accompany (a person) with music (were played out with bagpipes). --n. 1 recreation, amusement, esp. as the spontaneous activity of children and young animals. 2 a the playing of a game. b the action or manner of this. c the status of the ball etc. in a game as being available to be played according to the rules (in play; out of play). 3 a dramatic piece for the stage etc. 4 activity or operation (are in full play; brought into play). 5 a freedom of movement. b space or scope for this. 6 brisk, light, or fitful movement. 7 gambling. 8 an action or manoeuvre, esp. in or as in a game. Phrases and idioms: at play engaged in recreation. in play for amusement; not seriously. make play act effectively. make a play for colloq. make a conspicuous attempt to acquire. make play with use ostentatiously. play about (or around) behave irresponsibly. play along pretend to cooperate. play back play (sounds recently recorded), esp. to monitor recording quality etc. play-back n. a playing back of a sound or sounds. play ball see BALL(1). play by ear 1 perform (music) without the aid of a score. 2 (also play it by ear) proceed instinctively or step by step according to results and circumstances. play one's cards right (or well) make good use of opportunities; act shrewdly. play down minimize the importance of. play ducks and drakes with see DUCK(1). played out exhausted of energy or usefulness. play false act, or treat a (person), deceitfully or treacherously. play fast and loose act unreliably; ignore one's obligations. play the field see FIELD. play for time seek to gain time by delaying. play the game see GAME(1). play God see GOD. play havoc with see HAVOC. play hell with see HELL. play hookey see HOOKEY. play into a person's hands act so as unwittingly to give a person an advantage. play it cool colloq. 1 affect indifference. 2 be relaxed or unemotional. play the man = be a man (see MAN). play the market speculate in stocks etc. play off (usu. foll. by against) 1 oppose (one person against another), esp. for one's own advantage. 2 play an extra match to decide a draw or tie. play-off n. a match played to decide a draw or tie. play on 1 continue to play. 2 take advantage of (a person's feelings etc.). play oneself in become accustomed to the prevailing conditions in a game etc. play on words a pun. play-pen a portable enclosure for young children to play in. play possum see POSSUM. play safe (or for safety) avoid risks. play-suit a garment for a young child. play to the gallery see GALLERY. play up 1 behave mischievously. 2 cause trouble; be irritating (my rheumatism is playing up again). 3 obstruct or annoy in this way (played the teacher up). 4 put all one's energy into a game. play up to flatter, esp. to win favour. play with fire take foolish risks. Derivatives: playable adj. playability n. Etymology: OE plega (n.), pleg(i)an (v.), orig. = (to) exercise

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Play Play, v. t. To play hob, to play the part of a mischievous spirit; to work mischief. Plebs Plebs (pl[e^]bz), n. [L. Cf. Plebe.] 1. The commonalty of ancient Rome who were citizens without the usual political rights; the plebeians; -- distinguished from the patricians. 2. Hence, the common people; the populace; -- construed as a pl.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Play Play, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Played; p. pr. & vb. n. Playing.] [OE. pleien, AS. plegian, plegan, to play, akin to plega play, game, quick motion, and probably to OS. plegan to promise, pledge, D. plegen to care for, attend to, be wont, G. pflegen; of unknown origin. [root]28. Cf. Plight, n.] 1. To engage in sport or lively recreation; to exercise for the sake of amusement; to frolic; to spot. As Cannace was playing in her walk. --Chaucer. The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play! --Pope. And some, the darlings of their Lord, Play smiling with the flame and sword. --Keble. 2. To act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be careless. ``Nay,'' quod this monk, ``I have no lust to pleye.'' --Chaucer. Men are apt to play with their healths. --Sir W. Temple. 3. To contend, or take part, in a game; as, to play ball; hence, to gamble; as, he played for heavy stakes. 4. To perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a flute. One that . . . can play well on an instrument. --Ezek. xxxiii. 32. Play, my friend, and charm the charmer. --Granville. 5. To act; to behave; to practice deception. His mother played false with a smith. --Shak. 6. To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate; to act; as, the fountain plays. The heart beats, the blood circulates, the lungs play. --Cheyne. 7. To move gayly; to wanton; to disport. Even as the waving sedges play with wind. --Shak. The setting sun Plays on their shining arms and burnished helmets. --Addison. All fame is foreign but of true desert, Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart. --Pope. 8. To act on the stage; to personate a character. A lord will hear your play to-night. --Shak. Courts are theaters where some men play. --Donne. To play into a person's hands, to act, or to manage matters, to his advantage or benefit. To play off, to affect; to feign; to practice artifice. To play upon. (a) To make sport of; to deceive. Art thou alive? Or is it fantasy that plays upon our eyesight. --Shak. (b) To use in a droll manner; to give a droll expression or application to; as, to play upon words.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Play Play, n. 1. Amusement; sport; frolic; gambols. 2. Any exercise, or series of actions, intended for amusement or diversion; a game. John naturally loved rough play. --Arbuthnot. 3. The act or practice of contending for victory, amusement, or a prize, as at dice, cards, or billiards; gaming; as, to lose a fortune in play. 4. Action; use; employment; exercise; practice; as, fair play; sword play; a play of wit. ``The next who comes in play.'' --Dryden. 5. A dramatic composition; a comedy or tragedy; a composition in which characters are represented by dialogue and action. A play ought to be a just image of human nature. --Dryden. 6. The representation or exhibition of a comedy or tragedy; as, he attends ever play. 7. Performance on an instrument of music. 8. Motion; movement, regular or irregular; as, the play of a wheel or piston; hence, also, room for motion; free and easy action. ``To give them play, front and rear.'' --Milton. The joints are let exactly into one another, that they have no play between them. --Moxon. 9. Hence, liberty of acting; room for enlargement or display; scope; as, to give full play to mirth. Play actor, an actor of dramas. --Prynne. Play debt, a gambling debt. --Arbuthnot. Play pleasure, idle amusement. [Obs.] --Bacon. A play upon words, the use of a word in such a way as to be capable of double meaning; punning. Play of colors, prismatic variation of colors. To bring into play, To come into play, to bring or come into use or exercise. To hold in play, to keep occupied or employed.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Play Play, v. t. 1. To put in action or motion; as, to play cannon upon a fortification; to play a trump. First Peace and Silence all disputes control, Then Order plays the soul. --Herbert. 2. To perform music upon; as, to play the flute or the organ. 3. To perform, as a piece of music, on an instrument; as, to play a waltz on the violin. 4. To bring into sportive or wanton action; to exhibit in action; to execute; as, to play tricks. Nature here Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will Her virgin fancies. --Milton. 5. To act or perform (a play); to represent in music action; as, to play a comedy; also, to act in the character of; to represent by acting; to simulate; to behave like; as, to play King Lear; to play the woman. Thou canst play the rational if thou wilt. --Sir W. Scott. 6. To engage in, or go together with, as a contest for amusement or for a wager or prize; as, to play a game at baseball. 7. To keep in play, as a hooked fish, in order to land it. To play off, to display; to show; to put in exercise; as, to play off tricks. To play one's cards, to manage one's means or opportunities; to contrive. Played out, tired out; exhausted; at the end of one's resources. [Colloq.]

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(plays, playing, played) Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English. 1. When children, animals, or perhaps adults play, they spend time doing enjoyable things, such as using toys and taking part in games. They played in the little garden... Polly was playing with her teddy bear. VERB: V, V with n Play is also a noun. ...a few hours of play until the baby-sitter takes them off to bed. 2. When you play a sport, game, or match, you take part in it. While the twins played cards, Francis sat reading... Alain was playing cards with his friends... I used to play basketball... I want to play for my country... He captained the team but he didn't actually play. V-RECIP: pl-n V n, V n with n, V n (non-recip), V for n (non-recip), V (non-recip) Play is also a noun. Both sides adopted the Continental style of play. 3. When one person or team plays another or plays against them, they compete against them in a sport or game. Northern Ireland will play Latvia... I've played against him a few times. VERB: V n, V against n Play is also a noun. Fischer won after 5 hours and 41 minutes of play. 4. When you play the ball or play a shot in a game or sport, you kick or hit the ball. Think first before playing the ball... I played the ball back slightly. VERB: V n, V n adv 5. If you play a joke or a trick on someone, you deceive them or give them a surprise in a way that you think is funny, but that often causes problems for them or annoys them. Someone had played a trick on her, stretched a piece of string at the top of those steps... I thought: 'This cannot be happening, somebody must be playing a joke'. VERB: V n on n, V n 6. If you play with an object or with your hair, you keep moving it or touching it with your fingers, perhaps because you are bored or nervous. She stared at the floor, idly playing with the strap of her handbag. VERB: V with n 7. A play is a piece of writing which is performed in a theatre, on the radio, or on television. The company put on a play about the homeless... It's my favourite Shakespeare play. N-COUNT 8. If an actor plays a role or character in a play or film, he or she performs the part of that character. ...Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in which he played Hyde... His ambition is to play the part of Dracula. VERB: V n, V n 9. You can use play to describe how someone behaves, when they are deliberately behaving in a certain way or like a certain type of person. For example, to play the innocent, means to pretend to be innocent, and to play deaf means to pretend not to hear something. Hill tried to play the peacemaker... So you want to play nervous today? = act V-LINK: V n, V adj 10. You can describe how someone deals with a situation by saying that they play it in a certain way. For example, if someone plays it cool, they keep calm and do not show much emotion, and if someone plays it straight, they behave in an honest and direct way. Investors are playing it cautious, and they're playing it smart. VERB: V it adj/adv 11. If you play a musical instrument or play a tune on a musical instrument, or if a musical instrument plays, music is produced from it. Nina had been playing the piano... He played for me... Place your baby in her seat and play her a lullaby... The guitars played. VERB: V n, V for n, V n n, V 12. If you play a record, a CD, or a tape, you put it into a machine and sound is produced. If a record, CD, or tape is playing, sound is being produced from it. She played her records too loudly... There is classical music playing in the background. VERB: V n, V, also V n n 13. If a musician or group of musicians plays or plays a concert, they perform music for people to listen or dance to. A band was playing... He will play concerts in Amsterdam and Paris. VERB: V, V n 14. If you ask what someone is playing at, you are angry because you think they are doing something stupid or wrong. (INFORMAL) What the hell are you playing at?. PHRASE: V inflects [feelings] 15. When something comes into play or is brought into play, it begins to be used or to have an effect. The real existence of a military option will come into play... PHRASE: V inflects 16. If something or someone plays a part or plays a role in a situation, they are involved in it and have an effect on it. The UN would play a major role in monitoring a ceasefire. ...the role played by diet in disease. PHRASE: V inflects, usu PHR in n 17. to play ball: see ball to play your cards right: see card to play it by ear: see ear to play fair: see fair to play second fiddle: see fiddle to play the field: see field to play with fire: see fire to play the fool: see fool to play to the gallery: see gallery to play into someone's hands: see hand to play hard to get: see hard to play havoc: see havoc to play host: see host to play safe: see safe to play for time: see time to play truant: see truant

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia



Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

I. v. n. 1. Sport, disport, frolic, skip, frisk, gambol, revel, romp, caper, make merry, make fun. 2. Trifle, toy, wanton, dally. 3. Hover, flutter, sport, wave. 4. Game, gambler. 5. Act (on the stage), take a part, personate a character. 6. Perform. 7. Act, operate, work freely. 8. Do, act, behave. II. v. a. 1. Put in action, put in operation. 2. Perform. 3. Put down, exhibit, use in playing, move. 4. Compete, engage in play. 5. Perform on, play on or upon. 6. Execute. 7. Act (on the stage), enact, represent, exhibit, perform. 8. Personate, act the part of, take the part of. 9. Engage in, take part in. 10. Do, perform, execute. III. n. 1. Game. 2. Amusement, sport, frolic, gambols, jest, pastime. 3. Gaming, gambling. 4. Practice, use, manner of dealing. 5. Action, use, employment. 6. Dramatic composition, drama, comedy, tragedy, melodrama or farce. 7. Dramatic performance. 8. Performance. 9. Motion, movement, action. 10. Liberty of action, scope, swing, elbow-room, opportunity.

1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

To play booty; to play with an intention to lose. To play the whole game; to cheat. To play least in sight; to hide, or keep out of the way. To play the devil; to be guilty of some great irregularity or mismanagement.

Moby Thesaurus

ALGOL, COBOL, FORTRAN, Grand Guignol, Passion play, Tom show, abuse, accentuate, accompany, act, act a part, act as, act as foil, act out, act up, acting, action, actions, activism, activity, ad lib, affect, agree, air space, alphabetic data, alphanumeric code, ample scope, amuse, amusement, angular data, ante, ante up, antic, antimasque, ape, appear, apple-polish, appliance, application, article, artifice, assembler, assume, attention, audience success, autograph, back, ball, ballet, barnstorm, be effective, be in action, be occupied with, be responsible for, be unfaithful, beguile, behave, behavior, belittle, belly laugh, bet, bet on, betting, bicker, big time, binary digit, binary scale, binary system, bit, blank check, blue story, bluff, bomb, book, bout, brainchild, broadcast drama, brown-nose, bug, build up, burlesque show, butter up, byte, calculated risk, call, call attention to, caper, caracole, cardsharping, carouse, carry on, carry out, carry through, carte blanche, cast lots, casting lots, cause trouble, cavort, challenge, chance, charade, chord, chunk, clearance, cliff hanger, closet drama, come out, comedy drama, command pulses, commands, compete with, compiler, composition, computer code, computer language, computer printout, computer program, concertize, conduct, consider, contend with, contest, control signals, controlled quantity, cooperate, copy, coquet, correcting signals, counterfeit, court, cover, cover up, coverage, critical success, curvet, cut a dido, cut capers, cut lots, cut the cards, cut up, dabble, dally, dance, dancing, data, daytime serial, de-emphasize, deal with, decathlon, decry, delay, delectation, delight, demeanor, depict, deportment, deprecate, device, dialogue, dido, diminish, direct, dirty joke, dirty story, discourse, disparage, disport, dissemble, dissimulate, diversion, divert, do, do a bit, do with, document, documentary drama, doing, double entendre, double-header, doubles, draft, drama, dramalogue, dramatic play, dramatic series, dramatize, draw lots, draw straws, drive, duodrama, duologue, edited version, elbowroom, emote, emotionalize, emphasize, employ, employment, enact, engage, engage in, engrossment, enjoyment, entertain, entertainment, epic theater, error, error signals, essay, ethnic joke, event, execute, exercise, exert, experimental theater, exploit, extemporize, extravaganza, fade, failure, fair copy, fake, feedback pulses, feedback signals, feign, feint, fiction, fiddle, fiddle with, fiddle-faddle, fidget, fidget with, field, film data, final draft, finesse, finger with, finished version, first draft, flatter, flexibility, flicker, flickering, flickering light, flier, flimsy, flirt, flop, flounce, flutter, fluttering, fool, fool around, fool with, fortune, four-flush, foursome, free course, free hand, free play, free scope, freedom, fribble, frisk, frivol, frivolity, frolic, full scope, full swing, fun, fun and games, function, functioning, funmaking, funny story, gag, gambit, gamble, gambling, gambol, game, games of chance, gaming, gammon, gasser, get top billing, gimmick, give, giveaway, glancing light, go, go along with, good one, good story, good time, great fun, gush, handbook, handle, happening, have effect, have free play, have fun, have play, hazard, hazarding, headroom, hesitate, hexadecimal system, high old time, high time, highlight, histrionize, hit, hit show, holograph, horse around, horseplay, howler, idle, impersonate, impose on, improvisational drama, improvise, information, input data, input quantity, instructions, interpret, jape, jerk off, jest, jestbook, jet, jockey, join in, joke, kid around, lambency, latitude, laugh, laughs, lay, lay a wager, lay down, leeway, legitimate drama, let on, let on like, letter, light show, literae scriptae, literary artefact, literary production, literature, loiter, long rope, looseness, lot, lovely time, luck, lucubration, machine language, make, make a bet, make a pretense, make as if, make believe, make go, make light of, make like, make music, make out like, make use of, malfunction, manage, maneuver, maneuvering space, manipulate, manuscript, margin, masque, masquerade as, match, match coins, matter, meet, meet a bet, melodrama, merrymaking, mess around, mess with, message, militate, mime, mimic, minimize, minstrel show, miracle, miracle play, misbehave, misuse, monkey, monkey around, monkey business, monodrama, monologue, morality, morality play, motion, move, movement, movements, multiple messages, music drama, musical revue, mystery, mystery play, no holds barred, noise, nonfiction, numeric data, occupation, octal system, open space, opera, operate, operation, operations, opus, original, oscillograph data, output data, output quantity, overact, pageant, panel show, panic, pantomime, paper, parchment, parlay, participate, participate in, pass, pass for, pastoral, pastoral drama, patter, pentathlon, percolate, perform, perform on, perk, personate, philander, picnic, piddle, piece, piece of writing, pilot, place, play a part, play a scene, play against, play around, play at dice, play ball, play by ear, play down, play for time, play of light, play on, play possum, play the game, play the lead, play the ponies, play up, play up to, play with, play-off, playact, playing, playlet, pleasant time, pleasure, ploy, plunge, ply, poem, point, polar data, portray, pose as, potter, practice, praxis, pretend, pretend to be, printed matter, printout, problem play, proceed, procrastinate, production, profess, psychodrama, punch-card data, punt, put, put on, put on airs, putter, quiver, quivering, quiz show, race, radio drama, raffle off, random data, range, reading matter, recension, recreate, recreation, rectangular data, reference quantity, register, render, revelry, review, revue, rib tickler, riot, risk, risking, rival, rollick, romp, room, room to spare, rope, ruly English, run, run around, runoff, scope, scream, screed, scrip, script, scrive, scroll, sea room, second draft, see, see to, sensational play, serial, serve, set, sham, shoot craps, shot, show, sick joke, sidesplitter, sight gag, signals, simulate, single messages, singles, sitcom, situation comedy, sketch, skip, skit, skylarking, sleep around, smatter, soap, soap opera, sociodrama, soft-soap, sortition, space, spare room, spectacle, speculate, speculation, spew, spit, sport, sporting, sportiveness, spotlight, spout, spray, spritz, spurt, spurtle, squirt, stage play, stage show, stake, staking, stall for time, stand pat, star, steal the show, steer, stooge, story, straight drama, stratagem, stress, success, suck up to, surge, suspense drama, swing, symphonize, tableau, tableau vivant, take, take advantage of, take care of, take effect, take off, take on, take part in, take up, talk show, tease, teleplay, television drama, television play, temporize, the written word, theater of cruelty, think about, think nothing of, threesome, tick, tinker, toady to, tolerance, tomfoolery, toss, total theater, toy, toy with, trade on, transcript, transcription, tread the boards, treatment, trifle, trifle with, trip, troupe, truckle to, tug the heartstrings, twiddle, twosome, typescript, uncertainty, underline, underscore, undertake, unorganized data, upstage, use, utilize, variety show, vaudeville, vaudeville show, vehicle, venture, version, vie with, visible-speech data, visual joke, vomit, vomit forth, vomit out, wager, wagering, waver, way, wear, well, wheeze, wide berth, wield, wile, wing it, womanize, word-of-mouth success, work, work together, working, workings, wow, writing, yarn

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