play VERB 1) engage in games or other activities for enjoyment rather than for a serious or practical purpose. 2) take part in (a sport or contest). 3) compete against. 4) take a specified position in a sports team. 5) represent (a character) in a play or film. 6) perform on or have the skill to perform on (a musical instrument). 7) produce (notes) from a musical instrument; perform (a piece of music). 8) move (a piece) or display (a playing card) in one's turn in a game. 9) make (a record player, radio, etc.) produce sounds. 10) be cooperative: he needs financial backing, but the banks won't play. 11) move lightly and quickly; flicker.
NOUN 1) games and other activities engaged in for enjoyment. 2) the progress of a sporting match. 3) a move or manoeuvre in a sport or game. 4) the state of being active, operative, or effective: luck came into play. 5) a dramatic work for the stage or to be broadcast. 6) the ability or freedom of movement in a mechanism. 7) light and constantly changing movement.
be played out — Cf. ↑be played out
make great play of — Cf. ↑make great play of
make a play for — Cf. ↑make a play for
play both ends against the middle — Cf. ↑play both ends against the middle
play about (or around) — Cf. ↑play around
play-act — Cf. ↑play-act
play along — Cf. ↑play along
play by ear — Cf. ↑play by ear
play down — Cf. ↑play down
play fast and loose — Cf. ↑play fast and loose
play for time — Cf. ↑play for time
play into someone's hands — Cf. ↑play into someone's hands
play off — Cf. ↑play off
play on — Cf. ↑play on
a play on words — Cf. ↑a play on words
play (or play it) safe — Cf. ↑play safe
play up — Cf. ↑play up
play with — Cf. ↑play with
play with fire — Cf. ↑play with fire
DERIVATIVES playable adjective.
ORIGIN Old English, «to exercise».

English terms dictionary. 2015.

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