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Definitions of play

  1. To do something, not as a task or for profit, but as amusement; to sport; to frolic; to toy; to trifle; to contend in a game; to perform on a musical instrument; to act; to act a part on the stage. Nuttall's Standard dictionary of the English language. By Nuttall, P.Austin. Published 1914.
  2. To perform music upon; as, to play the flute or the organ. Webster Dictionary DB
  3. To perform, as a piece of music, on an instrument; as, to play a waltz on the violin. Webster Dictionary DB
  4. To bring into sportive or wanton action; to exhibit in action; to execute; as, to play tricks. Webster Dictionary DB
  5. 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. Webster Dictionary DB
  6. To keep in play, as a hooked fish, in order to land it. Webster Dictionary DB
  7. To engage in (some pastime) for amusement; as, to play ball; to make believe; as, to play school; perform; as, to play a waltz on a piano; to perform music on; as, to play the violin; to act in the character of; as, to play Hamlet. The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919.
  8. To put in motion: to perform upon: to perform: to act a sportive part: to compete with. The american dictionary of the english language. By Daniel Lyons. Published 1899.
  9. To put in action; perform. The Clarendon dictionary. By William Hand Browne, Samuel Stehman Haldeman. Published 1894.
  10. To engage in (a game); produce or act in (a drama). The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  11. To perform upon, as a musical instrument. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  12. To put into action. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  13. To move back and forth; as, wind, fire, or lightning, plays; to sport or frolic; to gamble; to perform on a musical instrument; to act on the stage. The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919.
  14. To engage in some exercise or in a game: to sport: to trifle: to move irregularly: to operate: to act in a theatre: to perform on a musical instrument: to practice a trick: to act a character: to gamble. The american dictionary of the english language. By Daniel Lyons. Published 1899.
  15. To sport; engage in a game; act; perform on; gamble. The Clarendon dictionary. By William Hand Browne, Samuel Stehman Haldeman. Published 1894.
  16. stake on the outcome of an issue; "I bet $100 on that new horse"; "She played all her money on the dark horse" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  17. 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" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  18. consider not very seriously; "He is trifling with her"; "She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  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" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  20. contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle; "Princeton plays Yale this weekend"; "Charlie likes to play Mary" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  21. 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" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  22. 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" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  23. perform on a stage or theater; "She acts in this play"; "He acted in `Julius Caesar'"; "I played in `A Christmas Carol'" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  24. To engage in play. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  25. To gamble. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  26. To act with levity; trifle. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  27. To behave; act. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  28. To move freely. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  29. To put in action or motion; to use an instrument of music; to act; to perform in character or in a contest. To play off, to display. To play upon, to deceive. Nuttall's Standard dictionary of the English language. By Nuttall, P.Austin. Published 1914.
  30. To put into action, motion, or operation; to perform on, as a musical instrument; to act; to exhibit or represent, as a piece in a theatre; to use some exercise for amusement or recreation; to toy or trifle; to give a fanciful turn to, as to a word; to make sport with or upon; to mock; to practise deception upon; to personate in a drama; to gamble. Etymological and pronouncing dictionary of the English language. By Stormonth, James, Phelp, P. H. Published 1874.
  31. Playing. The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919.
  32. an attempt to get something; "they made a futile play for power"; "he made a bid to gain attention" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  33. 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" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  34. play by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules; "Freud believed in the utility of play to a small child" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  35. movement or space for movement; "there was too much play in the steering wheel" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  36. (in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds; "rain stopped play in the 4th inning" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  37. the act using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and skillfully Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  38. the activity of doing something in an agreed succession; "it is my turn"; "it is still my play" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  39. a preset plan of action in team sports; "the coach drew up the plays for her team" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  40. utilization or exercise; "the play of the imagination" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  41. a theatrical performance of a drama; "the play lasted two hours" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  42. a weak and tremulous light; "the shimmer of colors on iridescent feathers"; "the play of light on the water" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  43. a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill; "he made a great maneuver"; "the runner was out on a play by the shortstop" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  44. a state in which action is feasible; "the ball was still in play"; "insiders said the company's stock was in play" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  45. exhaust by allowing to pull on the line; "play a hooked fish" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  46. participate in games or sport; "We played hockey all afternoon"; "play cards"; "Pele played for the Brazilian teams in many important matches" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  47. employ in a game or in a specific position; "They played him on first base" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  48. use or move; "I had to play my queen" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  49. shoot or hit in a particular manner; "She played a good backhand last night" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  50. bet or wager (money); "He played $20 on the new horse"; "She plays the races" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  51. 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" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  52. make bets; "Play the reaces"; "play the casinos in Trouville" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  53. use to one's advantage; "She plays on her clients' emotions" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  54. discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream; "play water from a hose"; "The fountains played all day" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  55. perform on a certain location; "The prodigy played Carnegie Hall at the age of 16"; "She has been playing on Broadway for years" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  56. be performed; "What's playing in the local movie theater?"; "`Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  57. cause to emit recorded sounds; "They ran the tapes over and over again"; "Can you play my favorite record?" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  58. emit recorded sound; "The tape was playing for hours"; "the stereo was playing Beethoven when I entered" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  59. pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity; "Let's play like I am mommy"; "Play cowboy and Indians" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  60. replay (as a melody); "Play it again, Sam"; "She played the third movement very beautifully" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  61. play on an instrument; "The band played all night long" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  62. perform music on (a musical instrument); "He plays the flute"; "Can you play on this old recorder?" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  63. move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly; "The spotlights played on the politicians" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  64. cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space; "The engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  65. 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" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  66. 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" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  67. behave in a certain way; "play safe"; "play it safe"; "play fair" Wordnet Dictionary DB
  68. To engage in sport or lively recreation; to exercise for the sake of amusement; to frolic; to spot. Webster Dictionary DB
  69. To act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be careless. Webster Dictionary DB
  70. To contend, or take part, in a game; as, to play ball; hence, to gamble; as, he played for heavy stakes. Webster Dictionary DB
  71. To perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a flute. Webster Dictionary DB
  72. To act; to behave; to practice deception. Webster Dictionary DB
  73. To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate; to act; as, the fountain plays. Webster Dictionary DB
  74. To move gayly; to wanton; to disport. Webster Dictionary DB
  75. To act on the stage; to personate a character. Webster Dictionary DB
  76. Amusement; sport; frolic; gambols. Webster Dictionary DB
  77. Any exercise, or series of actions, intended for amusement or diversion; a game. Webster Dictionary DB
  78. 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. Webster Dictionary DB
  79. Action; use; employment; exercise; practice; as, fair play; sword play; a play of wit. Webster Dictionary DB
  80. A dramatic composition; a comedy or tragedy; a composition in which characters are represented by dialogue and action. Webster Dictionary DB
  81. The representation or exhibition of a comedy or tragedy; as, he attends ever play. Webster Dictionary DB
  82. Performance on an instrument of music. Webster Dictionary DB
  83. Motion; movement, regular or irregular; as, the play of a wheel or piston; hence, also, room for motion; free and easy action. Webster Dictionary DB
  84. Hence, liberty of acting; room for enlargement or display; scope; as, to give full play to mirth. Webster Dictionary DB
  85. Any exercise or occupation for amusement; diversion; pastime; freedom or room to act; as, to give ones arm full play in throwing a ball; rapid and energetic action or motion; exercise of mental powers; as, a play of wit or fancy; a drama, as a tragedy, comedy, etc.; gambling; as, to lose money at play; ones turn to move a piece, lay down a card, etc., in a game; fun; jest; as, she did it in play; manner of dealing; as, fair play. The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919.
  86. Any exercise for amusement: amusement: a contending for victory: practice in a contest: gaming: action or use: manner of dealing, as fair-play: a dramatic composition: movement: room for motion: liberty of action. The american dictionary of the english language. By Daniel Lyons. Published 1899.
  87. Sport; game; action; room for action; drama. The Clarendon dictionary. By William Hand Browne, Samuel Stehman Haldeman. Published 1894.
  88. Action for amusement only; exercise; competitive trial; also, gambling. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  89. A dramatic composition. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  90. Freedom of movement. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  91. Player. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  92. Any exercise or series of actions intended for pleasure or diversion, as billiards, cricket, &c.; amusement; game; practice in any contest; action; a dramatic composition; dramatic performance; performance on a musical instrument; motion; room for motion; liberty of action; scope. Nuttall's Standard dictionary of the English language. By Nuttall, P.Austin. Published 1914.
  93. Occupation or exercise of any kind to afford pleasure or diversion; not work; sport; recreation; contest, as in a game; gambling; jest; not in earnest; swing; freedom of action to and fro; practice; action; a dramatic composition, or the representation of it at a theatre; an exhibition or display, as of colours flitting or twisting. Etymological and pronouncing dictionary of the English language. By Stormonth, James, Phelp, P. H. Published 1874.
  94. imagined as in a play; "the make-believe world of theater"; "play money"; "dangling their legs in the water to catch pretend fish" Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  95. Played. The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919.

Usage examples for play

  1. The other night we went to a play given by some of the school children. – A Northern Countryside by Rosalind Richards
  2. What game will they play – The Last Hope by Henry Seton Merriman
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