Play v. i. [imp. & p. p. Played p. pr. & vb. n. Playing.]
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 careless.
=\“Nay,” quod this monk, “I have no lust to pleye.”\= --Chaucer.
Men are apt to play with their healths. --Sir W. Temple.
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 flute.
One that . . . can play well on an instrument. --Ezek. 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.
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. Scott.
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 baseball.
7. To keep in play, as a hooked fish, in order to land it.
To play hob, to play the part of a mischievous spirit; to work mischief.
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.]
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.”
5. A dramatic composition; a comedy or tragedy; a composition in which characters are represented by dialogue and action.
A play ought to be a just image of human nature. --Dryden.
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. --Macaulay.
n 1: a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a
stage; "he wrote several plays but only one was produced
on Broadway" [syn: drama, dramatic play]
2: a theatrical performance of a drama; "the play lasted two
3: a preset plan of action in team sports; "the coach drew up
the plays for her team"
4: a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and
skill; "he made a great maneuver"; "the runner was out on
a play by the shortstop" [syn: maneuver, manoeuvre]
5: a state in which action is feasible; "the ball was still in
play"; "insiders said the company's stock was in play"
6: utilization or exercise; "the play of the imagination"
7: an attempt to get something; "they made a futile play for
power"; "he made a bid to gain attention" [syn: bid]
8: play by children that is guided more by imagination than by
fixed rules; "Freud believed in the utility of play to a
small child" [syn: child's play]
9: (in games or plays or other performances) the time during
which play proceeds; "rain stopped play in the 4th inning"
[syn: playing period, period of play]
10: the removal of constraints; "he gave free rein to his
impulses"; "they gave full play to the artist's talent"
[syn: free rein]
11: a weak and tremulous light; "the shimmer of colors on
iridescent feathers"; "the play of light on the water"
12: verbal wit (often at another's expense but not to be taken
seriously); "he became a figure of fun" [syn: fun, sport]
13: movement or space for movement; "there was too much play in
the steering wheel" [syn: looseness] [ant: tightness]
14: 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" [syn: frolic, romp,
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" [syn: gambling, gaming]
16: the activity of doing something in an agreed succession; "it
is my turn"; "it is still my play" [syn: turn]
17: the act using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and
skillfully [syn: swordplay]
v 1: participate in games or sport; "We played hockey all
afternoon"; "play cards"; "Pele played for the Brazilian
teams in many important matches"
2: 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: play on an instrument; "The band played all night long"
4: 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" [syn: act, represent]
5: 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
6: replay (as a melody); "Play it again, Sam"; "She played the
third movement very beautifully" [syn: spiel]
7: perform music on (a musical instrument); "He plays the
flute"; "Can you play on this old recorder?"
8: pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind; "He
acted the idiot"; "She plays deaf when the news are bad"
[syn: act, act as]
9: move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly; "The
spotlights played on the politicians"
10: bet or wager (money); "He played $20 on the new horse"; "She
plays the races"
11: engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy
oneself in a diversion; "On weekends I play"; "The
students all recreate alike" [syn: recreate]
12: pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful
activity; "Let's play like I am mommy"; "Play cowboy and
13: emit recorded sound; "The tape was playing for hours"; "the
stereo was playing Beethoven when I entered"
14: perform on a certain location; "The prodigy played Carnegie
Hall at the age of 16"; "She has been playing on Broadway
15: 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
16: 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" [syn: toy]
17: behave in a certain way; "play safe"; "play it safe"; "play
18: cause to emit recorded sounds; "They ran the tapes over and
over again"; "Can you play my favorite record?" [syn: run]
19: 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" [syn: toy, fiddle, diddle]
20: use to one's advantage; "She plays on her clients' emotions"
21: consider not very seriously; "He is trifling with her"; "She
plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania" [syn: dally,
22: 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"
23: behave carelessly or indifferently; "Play about with a young
girl's affection" [syn: dally, toy, flirt]
24: cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space; "The
engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack"
25: perform on a stage or theater; "She acts in this play"; "He
acted in `Julius Caesar'"; "I played in `A Christmas
Carol'" [syn: act, roleplay, playact]
26: be performed; "What's playing in the local movie theater?";
"`Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years"
27: 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" [syn: bring, work, wreak, make for]
28: discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a
continuous stream; "play water from a hose"; "The
fountains played all day"
29: make bets; "Play the reaces"; "play the casinos in
30: stake on the outcome of an issue; "I bet $100 on that new
horse"; "She played all her money on the dark horse"
[syn: bet, wager]
31: shoot or hit in a particular manner; "She played a good
backhand last night"
32: use or move; "I had to play my queen"
33: employ in a game or in a specific position; "They played him
on first base"
34: contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle;
"Princeton plays Yale this weekend"; "Charlie likes to
play Mary" [syn: meet, encounter, take on]
35: exhaust by allowing to pull on the line; "play a hooked