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Main Entry: 1play

Pronunciation: \ˈplā\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English plega; akin to Old English plegan to play, Middle Dutch pleyen

Date: before 12th century

 

1     a:    swordplay

       b archaic: game, sport

       c:    the conduct, course, or action of a game

       d:    a particular act or maneuver in a game: as

              (1):    the action during an attempt to advance the ball in football

              (2):    the action in which a player is put out in baseball

       e:    the action in which cards are played after bidding in a card game

       f:     the moving of a piece in a board game (as chess)

       g:    one's turn in a game <it's your ∼>
2     a obsolete: sexual intercourse

       b:    amorous flirtation : dalliance
3     a:    recreational activity especially: the spontaneous activity of children

       b:    absence of serious or harmful intent : jest <said it in ∼>

       c:    the act or an instance of playing on words or speech sounds

       d:    gaming, gambling
4     a     (1):    an act, way, or manner of proceeding : maneuver <that was a ∼ to get your fingerprints — Erle Stanley Gardner>

              (2):    deal, venture

       b     (1):    the state of being active, operative, or relevant <other motives surely come into ∼ — M. R. Cohen> <several issues are at ∼>

              (2):    brisk, fitful, or light movement <the gem presented a dazzling ∼ of colors>

              (3):    free or unimpeded motion (as of a part of a machine) also: the length or measure of such motion

              (4):    scope or opportunity for action

              (5):    a function of an electronic device that causes a recording to play
5:    emphasis or publicity especially in the news media <wished the country received a better ∼ in the American press — Hugh MacLennan>
6:    a move or series of moves calculated to arouse friendly feelings usually used with make <made a big ∼ for the girl — Will Herman>
7     a:    the stage representation of an action or story

       b:    a dramatic composition : drama

 

Main Entry: 2play

Function: verb

Date: before 12th century

 

intransitive verb

1     a:    to engage in sport or recreation: frolic

       b:    to have sexual relations especially: to have promiscuous or illicit sexual relations usually used in the phrase play around

       c      (1):    to move aimlessly about : trifle

              (2):    to toy or fiddle around with something <∼ed with her food>

              (3):    to deal or behave frivolously or mockingly: jest

              (4):    to deal in a light, speculative, or sportive manner

              (5):    to make use of double meaning or of the similarity of sound of two words for stylistic or humorous effect
2     a:    to take advantage <∼ing on fears>

       b     (1):    flutter, frisk

              (2):    to move or operate in a lively, irregular, or intermittent manner

       c:    to move or function freely within prescribed limits

       d:    to produce a stream <hoses ∼ing on a fire>
3     a     (1):    to perform music <∼ on a violin>

              (2):    to sound in performance <the organ is ∼ing>

              (3):    to emit sounds <the radio is ∼ing>

              (4):    to reproduce recorded sounds <a record is ∼ing>

       b     (1):    to act in a dramatic production

              (2):    show, run <what's ∼ing at the theater>

       c:    to be suitable for dramatic performance

       d:    to act with special consideration so as to gain favor, approval, or sympathy <might ∼ to popular prejudices to serve his political ends — V. L. Parrington> often used in the phrase play up to

       e:    to produce a specified impression in performance <a movie that ∼s like a sitcom>
4     a:    to engage or take part in a game

       b:    to perform in a position in a specified manner <the outfielders were ∼ing deep>

       c:    to perform an action during one's turn in a game

       d:    gamble

       e      (1):    to behave or conduct oneself in a specified way <∼ safe>

              (2):    to feign a specified state or quality <∼ dead>

              (3):    to take part in or assent to some activity: cooperate <∼ along with his scheme>

              (4):    to act so as to prove advantageous to another usually used in the phrase play into the hands of
5:    to gain approval: go over <her idea did not ∼ well>

 

transitive verb

1     a     (1):    to engage in or occupy oneself with <∼ baseball>

              (2):    to engage in (an activity) as a game

              (3):    to deal with, handle, or manage

              (4):    exploit, manipulate

       b:    to pretend to engage in the activities of <∼ war> <children ∼ing house>

       c      (1):    to amount to by one's efforts <∼ed an important role in their success>

              (2):    to perform or execute for amusement or to deceive or mock <∼ a trick>

              (3):    wreak <∼ havoc>

              (4):    to use or introduce as a political or rhetorical strategy <∼ the national security card>
2     a     (1):    to put on a performance of (a play)

              (2):    to act in the character or part of

              (3):    to act or perform in <∼ed leading theaters>

       b:    to perform or act the part of <∼ the fool>
3     a     (1):    to contend against in or as if in a game

              (2):    to use as a contestant in a game <the coach did not ∼ him>

              (3):    to perform the duties associated with (a certain position) <∼ed quarterback>

              (4):    to guard or move into position to defend against (an opponent) in a specified manner

       b     (1):    to wager in a game : stake

              (2):    to make wagers on <∼ the races>

              (3):    to speculate on or in <∼ the stock market>

              (4):    to operate on the basis of <∼ a hunch>

       c:    to put into action in a game especially: to remove (a playing card) from one's hand and place usually face up on a table in one's turn either as part of a scoring combination or as one's contribution to a trick

       d:    to catch or pick up (a batted ball) : field <∼ed the ball bare-handed>

       e:    to direct the course of (as a ball) : hit <∼ed a wedge shot to the green>also: to cause (a ball or puck) to rebound <∼ed the ball off the backboard>
4     a:    to perform (music) on an instrument <∼ a waltz>

       b:    to perform music on <∼ the violin>

       c:    to perform music of (a certain composer)

       d     (1):    to cause (as a radio or phonograph) to emit sounds

              (2):    to cause the recorded sound or image of (as a record or a magnetic tape) to be reproduced
5     a:    wield, ply

       b:    to discharge, fire, or set off with continuous effect <∼ed the hose on the burning building>

       c:    to cause to move or operate lightly and irregularly or intermittently

       d:    to keep (a hooked fish) in action

 

play·abil·i·ty \ˌplā-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

play·able \ˈplā-ə-bəl\ adjective

play ball: cooperate

play both ends against the middle: to set opposing interests against each other to one's own ultimate profit

play by ear: to deal with something without previous planning or instructions

play games: to try to hide the truth from someone by deceptive means

play one's cards: to act with the means available to one

play possum: to pretend to be asleep or dead

play second fiddle: to take a subordinate position

play the field: to date or have romantic connections with more than one person

play the game: to act according to a code or set of standards

play with a full deck: to be rational or sane

play with fire: to do something risky or dangerous

play with oneself: masturbate