play meaning

Word Frequency
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play verb
1. (compete) participate in games or sport
  • "We played hockey all afternoon"
  • "play cards"
  • "Pele played for the Brazilian teams in many important matches"
2. (act) 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. (perform) play on an instrument
  • "The band played all night long"
4. (act) 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"
5. (re-create) replay (as a melody)
Related: spiel
  • "Play it again, Sam"
  • "She played the third movement very beautifully"
6. (sound) perform music on (a musical instrument)
  • "He plays the flute"
  • "Can you play on this old recorder?"
7. (travel) move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly
  • "The spotlights played on the politicians"
8. (gamble) bet or wager (money)
  • "He played $20 on the new horse"
  • "She plays the races"
9. engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion
Related: recreate
  • "On weekends I play"
  • "The students all recreate alike"
10. (simulate) pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity
  • "Let's play like I am mommy"
  • "Play cowboy and Indians"
11. (sound) emit recorded sound
  • "The tape was playing for hours"
  • "the stereo was playing Beethoven when I entered"
12. (perform) perform on a certain location
  • "The prodigy played Carnegie Hall at the age of 16"
  • "She has been playing on Broadway for years"
13. (deploy) 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"
14. (act) engage in an activity as if it were a game rather than take it seriously
Related: toy
  • "They played games on their opponents"
  • "play the stock market"
  • "play with her feelings"
  • "toy with an idea"
15. (act) behave in a certain way
  • "play safe"
  • "play it safe"
  • "play fair"
16. cause to emit recorded audio or video
Related: run
  • "They ran the tapes over and over again"
  • "I'll play you my favorite record"
  • "He never tires of playing that video"
17. (exploit) use to one's advantage
  • "She plays on her clients' emotions"
18. 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"
19. (move) cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space
  • "The engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack"
20. be performed or presented for public viewing
  • "What's playing in the local movie theater?"
  • "`Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years"
21. (discharge) discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream
  • "play water from a hose"
  • "The fountains played all day"
22. (bet) make bets
  • "Play the races"
  • "play the casinos in Trouville"
23. (hit) shoot or hit in a particular manner
  • "She played a good backhand last night"
24. (use) use or move
  • "I had to play my queen"
25. (use) employ in a game or in a specific position
  • "They played him on first base"
26. (exhaust) exhaust by allowing to pull on the line
  • "play a hooked fish"
play noun
1. (dramatic_composition) a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage
Related: drama, dramatic_play
  • "he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway"
2. (show) a theatrical performance of a drama
  • "the play lasted two hours"
3. (plan_of_action) a preset plan of action in team sports
  • "the coach drew up the plays for her team"
4. (action) a state in which action is feasible
  • "the ball was still in play"
  • "insiders said the company's stock was in play"
5. (use) utilization or exercise
  • "the play of the imagination"
6. (diversion) activity by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules
Related: child's_play
  • "Freud believed in the utility of play to a small child"
7. (diversion) gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement
Related: frolic, romp, gambol, caper
  • "it was all done in play"
  • "their frolic in the surf threatened to become ugly"
8. (action) the act using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and skillfully
Related: swordplay
bring verb
1. (make) cause to happen or to occur as a consequence
Related: work, play, wreak, make_for
  • "I cannot work a miracle"
  • "wreak havoc"
  • "bring comments"
  • "play a joke"
  • "The rain brought relief to the drought-stricken area"
act verb
1. (re-create) play a role or part
Related: play, represent
  • "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"
2. (act) pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind
Related: play, act_as
  • "He acted the idiot"
  • "She plays deaf when the news are bad"
3. (perform) perform on a stage or theater
Related: play, roleplay, playact
  • "She acts in this play"
  • "He acted in `Julius Caesar'"
  • "I played in `A Christmas Carol'"
meet verb
1. contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle
Related: encounter, play, take_on
  • "Princeton plays Yale this weekend"
  • "Charlie likes to play Mary"
turn noun
1. (activity) (game) the activity of doing something in an agreed succession
Related: play
  • "it is my turn"
  • "it is still my play"
fun noun
1. (wit) verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously)
Related: play, sport
  • "he became a figure of fun"
  • "he said it in sport"
bid noun
1. (attempt) an attempt to get something
Related: play
  • "they made a futile play for power"
  • "he made a bid to gain attention"
toy verb
1. (manipulate) manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination
Related: fiddle, diddle, play
  • "She played nervously with her wedding ring"
  • "Don't fiddle with the screws"
  • "He played with the idea of running for the Senate"
bet verb
1. (gamble) stake on the outcome of an issue
Related: wager, play
  • "I bet $100 on that new horse"
  • "She played all her money on the dark horse"
maneuver noun
1. (motion) a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill
Related: manoeuvre, play
  • "he made a great maneuver"
  • "the runner was out on a play by the shortstop"
gambling noun
1. (diversion) the act of playing for stakes in the hope of winning (including the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize)
Related: gaming, play
  • "his gambling cost him a fortune"
  • "there was heavy play at the blackjack table"
shimmer noun
1. (change) a weak and tremulous light
Related: play
  • "the shimmer of colors on iridescent feathers"
  • "the play of light on the water"
dally verb
1. (consider) consider not very seriously
Related: trifle, play
  • "He is trifling with her"
  • "She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania"
2. (act) behave carelessly or indifferently
Related: toy, play, flirt
  • "Play about with a young girl's affection"
playing_period noun
1. (measure) (in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds
Related: period_of_play, play
  • "rain stopped play in the 4th inning"
free_rein noun
1. (freedom) the removal of constraints
Related: play
  • "he gave free rein to his impulses"
  • "they gave full play to the artist's talent"
looseness noun
1. (movability) movement or space for movement
Related: play
Antonyms: tightness
  • "there was too much play in the steering wheel"
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