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Verb: play  pley
  1. Pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind
    "She plays deaf when the news are bad";
    - act, act as
  2. Participate in a game or sport
    "We played hockey all afternoon"; "play cards"; "Pele played for the Brazilian teams in many important matches"
  3. 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"
  4. (music) Perform music using musical instruments
    "The band played all night long"
  5. (performing arts) Perform a role or part
    "Gielgud played Hamlet"; "She played the servant to her husband's master";
    - act, represent
  6. 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"
  7. Replay (as a melody)
    "Play it again, Sam"; "She played the third movement very beautifully";
    - spiel
  8. (music) perform music on (a musical instrument)
    "He plays the flute"; "Can you play on this old recorder?"
  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";
    - 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. (performing arts) 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
  17. Behave in a certain way
    "play safe"; "play it safe"; "play fair"
  18. Cause to emit recorded audio or video
    "I'll play you my favourite record"; "He never tires of playing that video";
    - run
  19. Manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination
    "She played nervously with her wedding ring"; "He played with the idea of running for the Senate";
    - toy, fiddle, diddle
  20. Use to one's advantage
    "She plays on her clients' emotions"
  21. Consider not very seriously
    "She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania";
    - dally, trifle
  22. Be received, 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";
    - dally, toy, flirt
  24. Cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space
    "The engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack"
  25. (dramaturgy) perform on a stage or theatre
    "She acts in this play"; "I played in 'A Christmas Carol'"; "She roleplays in this play"; "She playacts in this play";
    - act, roleplay, playact
  26. (performing arts) be performed or presented for public viewing
    "What's playing in the local movie theatre?"; "'Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years"
  27. Cause to happen or to occur as a consequence
    "play a joke";
    - bring, work, 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
    "She played all her money on the dark horse";
    - bet, wager
  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";
    - meet, encounter, take on
  35. Exhaust by allowing to pull on the line
    "play a hooked fish"
Noun: play  pley
  1. (drama) a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage
    "he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway";
    - 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
    "the runner was out on a play by the shortstop";
    - maneuver [US], manoeuvre [Brit, Cdn]
  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";
    - bid
  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";
    - child's play
  9. (in games, plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds
    "rain stopped play in the 4th inning";
    - playing period, period of play
  10. The removal of constraints
    "they gave full play to the artist's talent";
    - free rein
  11. A weak and tremulous light
    "the play of light on the water";
    - shimmer
  12. Verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously)
    "he became a figure of play";
    - fun, sport
  13. Movement or space for movement
    "there was too much play in the steering wheel";
    - looseness
  14. Gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement
    "it was all done in play";
    - frolic, romp, gambol, caper
  15. (game) the activity of doing something in an agreed succession
    "it is still my play";
    - turn
  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)
    "there was heavy play at the blackjack table";
    - gambling, gaming
  17. The act of using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and skilfully
    - swordplay

Derived forms: playing, played, plays

See also: play out, played

Type of: act, action, activeness, activity, alteration, amount, apply, assume, attempt, beat, behave, change, compete, consider, contend, create, deploy, discharge, displace, diversion, do, dramatic composition, dramatic work, drollness, effort, employ, employment, endeavor [US], endeavour [Brit, Cdn], exercise, exhaust, exploit, feign, freedom, gamble, go, hit, humor [US], humour [Brit, Cdn], locomote, look at, make, manipulate, measure, modification, motion, movability, movableness, move, movement, perform, plan of action, quantity, re-create, recreation, sham, show, simulate, sound, take, travel, try, tucker [N. Amer], tucker out [N. Amer], usage, use, utilisation [Brit], utilise [Brit], utilization, utilize, vice, vie, wash up, wit, witticism, wittiness, work

Part of: athletic game

Encyclopedia: Play, Pierre-Guillaume-Frédéric Le