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Verb: play  pley
  1. Participate in a game 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. (music) Perform music using musical instruments
    "The band played all night long"
  4. (performing arts) Perform a role or part
    "Gielgud played Hamlet"; "She played the servant to her husband's master";
    - act, represent
  5. 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";
    - spiel
  7. (music) 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
    "She plays deaf when the news are bad";
    - act, 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";
    - 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 [informal]
  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 money or something else of value on the outcome of an unpredictable event or disputed 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"
  36. Manipulate or exploit a system to one's advantage, esp. in an unfair way
    - game
Noun: play  pley
  1. 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 [informal]
  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 [informal]
  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 [informal], behave, change, compete, consider, contend, create, 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, recreate, re-create, recreation, sham, show, simulate, sound, take, travel, try, tucker [N. Amer, informal], tucker out [N. Amer, informal], usage, use, utilisation [Brit], utilise [Brit], utilization, utilize, vice, vie, wash up, wit, witticism, wittiness, work

Antonym: tautness

Part of: athletic game

Encyclopedia: Play, Pierre-Guillaume-Frédéric Le