Definitions for: Play

[n] the act using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and skillfully
[n] play by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules; "Freud believed in the utility of play to a small child"
[n] the activity of doing something in an agreed succession; "it is my turn"; "it is still my play"
[n] 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"
[n] 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"
[n] a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill; "he made a great play"
[n] a preset plan of action in team sports; "the coach drew up the plays for her team"
[n] an attempt to get something; "they made a futile play for power"; "he made a bid to gain attention"
[n] utilization or exercise; "the play of the imagination"
[n] movement or space for movement; "there was too much play in the steering wheel"
[n] verbal wit (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously); "he became a figure of fun"
[n] a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage; "he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway"
[n] a theatrical performance of a drama; "the play lasted two hours"
[n] a weak and tremulous light; "the shimmer of colors on iridescent feathers"; "the play of light on the water"
[n] the removal of constraints; "he gave free rein to his impulses"; "they gave full play to the artist's talent"
[n] a state in which action is feasible; "the ball was still in play"; "insiders said the company's stock was in play"
[n] (in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds; "rain stopped play in the 4th inning"
[v] 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"
[v] pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind; "He acted the idiot"; "She plays deaf when the news are bad"
[v] 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"
[v] exhaust by allowing to pull on the line; "play a hooked fish"
[v] consider not very seriously; "He is trifling with her"; "She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania"
[v] participate in games or sports; "We played hockey all afternoon"; "play cards"; "Pele played for the Brazilian teams in many important matches"
[v] contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle; "Princeton plays Yale this weekend"; "Charlie likes to play Mary"
[v] employ in a game or in a specific position; "They played him on first base"
[v] use or move; "I had to play my queen"
[v] shoot or hit in a particular manner; "She played a good backhand last night"
[v] bet or wager (money); "He played $20 on the new horse"; "She plays the races"
[v] stake on the outcome of an issue; "I bet $100 on that new horse"; "She played all her money on the dark horse"
[v] make bets; "Play the reaces"; "play the casinos in Trouville"
[v] use to one's advantage; "She plays on her clients' emotions"
[v] discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream; "play water from a hose"; "The fountains played all day"
[v] 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"
[v] 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"
[v] perform on a certain location; "The prodigy played Carnegie Hall at the age of 16"; "She has been playing on Broadway for years"
[v] be performed; "What's playing in the local movie theater?"; "`Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years"
[v] cause to be emit recorded sounds; "They ran the tapes over and over again"; "Can you play my favorite record?"
[v] emit recorded sound; "The tape was playing for hours"; "the stereo was playing Beethoven when I entered"
[v] 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"
[v] perform on a stage or theater; "She acts in this play"; "He acted in"Julius Caesar"; "I played in"A Christmas Carol"
[v] pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity; "Let's play like I am mommy"; "Play cowboy and Indians"
[v] as of melodies; "Play it again, Sam"; "She played the third movement very beautifully"
[v] play (music) on an instrument; "The band played all night long"
[v] perform music on (a musical instrument); "He plays the flute"; "Can you play on this old recorder?"
[v] move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly; "The spotlights played on the politicians"
[v] cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space, as of machinery; "The engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack"
[v] 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"
[v] engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion; "On weekends I play"; "The students all recreate alike"
[v] 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"
[v] behave carelessly or indifferently; "Play about with a young girl's affection"
[v] behave in a certain way; "play safe"; "play it safe";"play fair"
[v] 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"

Webster (1913) Definition: 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.
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

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,
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

``Nay,'' quod this monk, ``I have no lust to
pleye.'' --Chaucer.

Men are apt to play with their healths. --Sir W.

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

One that . . . can play well on an instrument.
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.

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.

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

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.]

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

A play ought to be a just image of human nature.

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.''

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.

I, with two more to help me, Will hold the foe in play.

Synonyms: act as, bet, bid, bring, caper, child's play, dally, dally, diddle, drama, fiddle, flirt, free rein, frolic, fun, gambling, gambol, gaming, looseness, make for, maneuver, manoeuvre, period of play, playing period, recreate, represent, romp, run, shimmer, spiel, sport, toy, toy, toy, trifle, turn, wager, work, wreak

Antonyms: tautness, tightness

See Also: accompany, ace, act, act, act, act out, action, action, activeness, activity, activity, alteration, amount, apply, arouse, arrange, arse around, assist, assume, at-bat, athletic game, athletic game, attack, attempt, back, backstop, ball hawking, bandy, bang out, baseball play, basketball play, bat, beat, beat, behave, bet, bet on, bid, blitz, bout, bow, bowl, bring about, bring off, bring on, bring up, bugle, bully off, call, call down, call forth, carry off, catch, cavort, change, chord, chukka, chukker, clarion, clowning, comedy, compete, complete, completion, confront, conjure, conjure up, consider, contend, coquetry, cover, cradle, create, cricket, croquet, curl, curtain raiser, dabble, dalliance, deal, debut, declare, deploy, develop, die, discharge, displace, disport, diversion, do, doctor, down, dramatic composition, dramatic work, drollery, drum, effect, effectuate, effort, emote, employ, employment, enact, endeavor, endeavour, entertain, evoke, exercise, exhaust, exit, exploit, face, face off, feign, fencing, fiddle, field, figure, final period, fireman, first period, flirt, flirt with, flirtation, flirting, follow, folly, fool, fool around, foolery, football play, footwork, foul, frame, freedom, frisk, frolic, fullback, fumble, funniness, gage, gamble, gambling game, gambol, game, game, game of chance, go, golf, golf hole, half, ham, harp, hit, hole, horse around, horseplay, house, humor, humour, icing, icing the puck, impersonate, induce, indulgence, inning, innings, invoke, jazz, jocosity, jocularity, jugglery, knock on, lark, lark about, lead, linebacker blitzing, locomote, look at, make, manage, manipulate, measure, mime, miracle play, misplay, misplay, modification, modulate, morality play, motion, mousetrap, movability, movableness, move, move, move, movement, musical, musical comedy, musical theater, mystery play, nail, negociate, obstruction, over, overact, overplay, paddle, pantomime, parody, paronomasia, pass completion, Passion play, perform, period, pipe, plan of action, play out, playlet, portray, prelude, promote, pull off, pun, punning, punt, put forward, putt, quantity, quantum, quarter, quarterback, rag, raise, raise, razmataz, razzle, razzle-dazzle, razzmatazz, recapitulate, re-create, recreation, reenact, register, repeat, replay, replay, reprise, reprize, revoke, rollick, romp, round, ruff, run around, safety blitz, satyr play, second period, see, seesaw, set, set up, sham, shot, show, simulate, skirl, skylark, slack, slackness, slur, snooker, sound, sound off, splash around, spoof, sport, sporting life, stage, stage direction, stake, start, start, starting, stir, stooge, strike up, stroke, stroke, support, swing, swordplay, symphonise, symphonize, take, teasing, tee off, theater of the absurd, think about, think of, third period, throw, tomfoolery, tongue, toy with, toying, trap play, travel, trumpet, trumping, try, tucker, tucker out, turn, tweedle, unblock, underact, underplay, underplay, unlicensed gambling, usage, use, use, utilisation, utilise, utilization, utilize, vice, vie, volley, wager, waggery, waggishness, walk, wash up, wiggliness, wit, witticism, wittiness, word play, wordplay, work

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