Dictionary.net

Definitions of play

  1. pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind; " He acted the idiot"; " She plays deaf when the news are bad"
  2. 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"
  3. stake on the outcome of an issue; " I bet $ 100 on that new horse"; " She played all her money on the dark horse"
  4. an attempt to get something; " they made a futile play for power"; " he made a bid to gain attention"
  5. 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"
  6. 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"
  7. play by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules; " Freud believed in the utility of play to a small child"
  8. behave carelessly or indifferently; " Play about with a young girl's affection"
  9. consider not very seriously; " He is trifling with her"; " She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania"
  10. 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"
  11. a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage; " he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway"
  12. contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle; " Princeton plays Yale this weekend"; " Charlie likes to play Mary"
  13. the removal of constraints; " he gave free rein to his impulses"; " they gave full play to the artist's talent"
  14. verbal wit ( often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously); " he became a figure of fun"
  15. 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"
  16. movement or space for movement; " there was too much play in the steering wheel"
  17. imagined as in a play; " the make- believe world of theater"; " play money"; " dangling their legs in the water to catch pretend fish"
  18. a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill; " he made a great play"
  19. ( in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds; " rain stopped play in the 4th inning"
  20. 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"
  21. the act using a sword ( or other weapon) vigorously and skillfully
  22. the activity of doing something in an agreed succession; " it is my turn"; " it is still my play"
  23. a preset plan of action in team sports; " the coach drew up the plays for her team"
  24. utilization or exercise; " the play of the imagination"
  25. a theatrical performance of a drama; " the play lasted two hours"
  26. engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion; " On weekends I play"; " The students all recreate alike"
  27. a weak and tremulous light; " the shimmer of colors on iridescent feathers"; " the play of light on the water"
  28. engage in an activity as if it were a game rather than take it seriously; " They played games on their opponents"; " play the stockmarket"; " play with her feelings"; " toy with an idea"
  29. a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill; " he made a great maneuver"; " the runner was out on a play by the shortstop"
  30. a state in which action is feasible; " the ball was still in play"; " insiders said the company's stock was in play"
  31. exhaust by allowing to pull on the line; " play a hooked fish"
  32. participate in games or sport; " We played hockey all afternoon"; " play cards"; " Pele played for the Brazilian teams in many important matches"
  33. employ in a game or in a specific position; " They played him on first base"
  34. use or move; " I had to play my queen"
  35. shoot or hit in a particular manner; " She played a good backhand last night"
  36. bet or wager ( money); " He played $ 20 on the new horse"; " She plays the races"
  37. 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"
  38. make bets; " Play the reaces"; " play the casinos in Trouville"
  39. use to one's advantage; " She plays on her clients' emotions"
  40. discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream; " play water from a hose"; " The fountains played all day"
  41. perform on a certain location; " The prodigy played Carnegie Hall at the age of 16"; " She has been playing on Broadway for years"
  42. be performed; " What's playing in the local movie theater?"; "` Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years"
  43. cause to emit recorded sounds; " They ran the tapes over and over again"; " Can you play my favorite record?"
  44. emit recorded sound; " The tape was playing for hours"; " the stereo was playing Beethoven when I entered"
  45. perform on a stage or theater; " She acts in this play"; " He acted in ` Julius Caesar'"; " I played in ` A Christmas Carol'"
  46. pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity; " Let's play like I am mommy"; " Play cowboy and Indians"
  47. replay ( as a melody); " Play it again, Sam"; " She played the third movement very beautifully"
  48. play on an instrument; " The band played all night long"
  49. perform music on ( a musical instrument); " He plays the flute"; " Can you play on this old recorder?"
  50. move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly; " The spotlights played on the politicians"
  51. cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space; " The engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack"
  52. 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"
  53. 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"
  54. behave in a certain way; " play safe"; " play it safe"; " play fair"
  55. To perform.
  56. To engage in sport or lively recreation; to exercise for the sake of amusement; to frolic; to spot.
  57. To act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be careless.
  58. To contend, or take part, in a game; as, to play ball; hence, to gamble; as, he played for heavy stakes.
  59. To perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a flute.
  60. To act; to behave; to practice deception.
  61. To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate; to act; as, the fountain plays.
  62. To move gayly; to wanton; to disport.
  63. To act on the stage; to personate a character.
  64. To put in action or motion; as, to play cannon upon a fortification; to play a trump.
  65. To perform music upon; as, to play the flute or the organ.
  66. To perform, as a piece of music, on an instrument; as, to play a waltz on the violin.
  67. To bring into sportive or wanton action; to exhibit in action; to execute; as, to play tricks.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. To keep in play, as a hooked fish, in order to land it.
  71. Amusement; sport; frolic; gambols.
  72. Any exercise, or series of actions, intended for amusement or diversion; a game.
  73. 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.
  74. Action; use; employment; exercise; practice; as, fair play; sword play; a play of wit.
  75. A dramatic composition; a comedy or tragedy; a composition in which characters are represented by dialogue and action.
  76. The representation or exhibition of a comedy or tragedy; as, he attends ever play.
  77. Performance on an instrument of music.
  78. Motion; movement, regular or irregular; as, the play of a wheel or piston; hence, also, room for motion; free and easy action.
  79. Hence, liberty of acting; room for enlargement or display; scope; as, to give full play to mirth.
  80. Spontaneous or voluntary recreational activities pursued for enjoyment and accessories or equipment used in the activities; includes games, toys, etc.
  81. Any exercise or occupation for amusement; diversion; pastime; freedom or room to act; as, to give ones arm full play in throwing a ball; rapid and energetic action or motion; exercise of mental powers; as, a play of wit or fancy; a drama, as a tragedy, comedy, etc.; gambling; as, to lose money at play; ones turn to move a piece, lay down a card, etc., in a game; fun; jest; as, she did it in play; manner of dealing; as, fair play.
  82. To engage in ( some pastime) for amusement; as, to play ball; to make believe; as, to play school; perform; as, to play a waltz on a piano; to perform music on; as, to play the violin; to act in the character of; as, to play Hamlet.
  83. Played.
  84. Playing.
  85. To move back and forth; as, wind, fire, or lightning, plays; to sport or frolic; to gamble; to perform on a musical instrument; to act on the stage.
  86. To engage in some exercise or in a game: to sport: to trifle: to move irregularly: to operate: to act in a theatre: to perform on a musical instrument: to practice a trick: to act a character: to gamble.
  87. To put in motion: to perform upon: to perform: to act a sportive part: to compete with.
  88. Any exercise for amusement: amusement: a contending for victory: practice in a contest: gaming: action or use: manner of dealing, as fair- play: a dramatic composition: movement: room for motion: liberty of action.
  89. Sport; game; action; room for action; drama.
  90. To put in action; perform.
  91. To sport; engage in a game; act; perform on; gamble.
  92. To engage in ( a game); produce or act in ( a drama).
  93. To perform upon, as a musical instrument.
  94. To put into action.
  95. To engage in play.
  96. To gamble.
  97. To act with levity; trifle.
  98. To behave; act.
  99. To move freely.
  100. Action for amusement only; exercise; competitive trial; also, gambling.
  101. A dramatic composition.
  102. Freedom of movement.
  103. Player.
  104. Any exercise or series of actions intended for pleasure or diversion, as billiards, cricket, & c.; amusement; game; practice in any contest; action; a dramatic composition; dramatic performance; performance on a musical instrument; motion; room for motion; liberty of action; scope.
  105. To put in action or motion; to use an instrument of music; to act; to perform in character or in a contest. To play off, to display. To play upon, to deceive.
  106. To do something, not as a task or for profit, but as amusement; to sport; to frolic; to toy; to trifle; to contend in a game; to perform on a musical instrument; to act; to act a part on the stage.
  107. Occupation or exercise of any kind to afford pleasure or diversion; not work; sport; recreation; contest, as in a game; gambling; jest; not in earnest; swing; freedom of action to and fro; practice; action; a dramatic composition, or the representation of it at a theatre; an exhibition or display, as of colours flitting or twisting.
  108. To put into action, motion, or operation; to perform on, as a musical instrument; to act; to exhibit or represent, as a piece in a theatre; to use some exercise for amusement or recreation; to toy or trifle; to give a fanciful turn to, as to a word; to make sport with or upon; to mock; to practise deception upon; to personate in a drama; to gamble.
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Usage examples for play

  1. I never could really play with him before, but now I can't help it. – The Melting of Molly by Maria Thompson Daviess
  2. " I can play no more," she said. – Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins
  3. Do you mean to say that you play like that- on that? – In the Days of the Guild by Louise Lamprey
  4. Surely we can play a part. – The Bad Man by Charles Hanson Towne
  5. Find some play that she does like, then. – Daisy by Elizabeth Wetherell
  6. Don't think any more, but play for me. – The Master-Knot of Human Fate by Ellis Meredith
  7. The other night we went to a play given by some of the school children. – A Northern Countryside by Rosalind Richards
  8. Do you play basketball? – Marjorie Dean High School Freshman by Pauline Lester
  9. But oh, if you could hear him play – Cord and Creese by James de Mille
  10. You are not wanted, said their mother, so stay here and play – Fruitfulness Fecondite by Emile Zola
  11. A good time, both at work and play the train was off. – The Golden Scarecrow by Hugh Walpole
  12. How do you know I play – The Moon out of Reach by Margaret Pedler
  13. What game will they play – The Last Hope by Henry Seton Merriman
  14. Oh, by all means let him have fair play – Peccavi by E. W. Hornung
  15. " Oh, I play a little," said Cameron. – Corporal Cameron by Ralph Connor
  16. I saw her last night at the play – The Tin Soldier by Temple Bailey
  17. Play it again to- night. – The Four Feathers by A. E. W. Mason
  18. " Well," said Dr. O'Grady, " we'll play it." – General John Regan 1913 by George A. Birmingham
  19. She had 'em, but she didn't have any time to play with them. – Turn About Eleanor by Ethel M. Kelley
  20. Why don't you go and play with one another and make friends? – Little Mr. Thimblefinger and His Queer Country by Joel Chandler Harris
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