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·ing, a. & vb. n. of Play.
Playing cards. See under Card.
n 1: the act of playing a musical instrument
2: the action of taking part in a game or sport or other
3: the performance of a part or role in a drama [syn: acting,