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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Quotes of play

  1. You have to play defense, that's how you win. – Peter Bondra
  2. I like to cast actors I admire, one's that are talented. Each one will bring something new to the part. This play has been done thousands of times and now certain characters are too familiar. – Kenneth Branagh
  3. Right now, I'm Writing song lyrics. Experimenting with a play Toying with an idea for a documentary. I hope one of these will eventually be launched into the light of day. – Anita Diament
  4. I never had a chance to play with dolls like other kids. I started working when I was six years old. – Billie Holiday
  5. I understand your new play is full of single entendres. – George S. Kaufman
  6. I never practice; I always play – Wanda Landowska
  7. Today's global landscape is increasingly interconnected. China and the Middle East play critical roles towards international peace and security. – Rick Larsen
  8. I do not mind having written the song at all. I just wish that I had written it in a different key, as the high d is hard to play I am glad that I wrote something that brought joy to millions of people. – Chuck Mangione
  9. I am consciously not trying to bring in World Music elements. The ways that I work and feel are completely different in how they sound than someone playing the Kora in Africa would play it. – Joanna Newsom
  10. Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father. – Roger von Oech
  11. I thought it was such a unique concept to play parents who happen to be super heroes and have a son who is going through puberty and starting high school. – Kelly Preston
  12. When you are younger, you are running on that pure naive adrenalin, you don't have any real responsibility aside from making sure you get there and play And there's usually someone there to help you do that! – Andy Taylor
  13. At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year. – Thomas Tusser
  14. As for lawyers, it's more fun to play one than to be one. – Sam Waterston
  15. I was very pleased that the positive things about me and my game outshone the aggressive style of play I use. I would never tone that down, because I believe in that style of play and I believe that you can play rough on the court and still be a good sport. – Sue Wicks

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

Rhymes for play

Idioms for