[ US /ˈpɫeɪ/ ]
[ UK /plˈe‍ɪ/ ]
  1. a preset plan of action in team sports
    the coach drew up the plays for her team
  2. a theatrical performance of a drama
    the play lasted two hours
  3. movement or space for movement
    there was too much play in the steering wheel
  4. (in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds
    rain stopped play in the 4th inning
  5. utilization or exercise
    the play of the imagination
  6. the act using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and skillfully
  7. (game) the activity of doing something in an agreed succession
    it is my turn
    it is still my play
  8. an attempt to get something
    he made a bid to gain attention
    they made a futile play for power
  9. a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill
    the runner was out on a play by the shortstop
    he made a great maneuver
  10. the removal of constraints
    they gave full play to the artist's talent
    he gave free rein to his impulses
  11. verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously)
    he said it in sport
    he became a figure of fun
  12. activity by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules
    Freud believed in the utility of play to a small child
  13. a state in which action is feasible
    the ball was still in play
    insiders said the company's stock was in play
  14. gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement
    their frolic in the surf threatened to become ugly
    it was all done in play
  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
  16. a weak and tremulous light
    the play of light on the water
    the shimmer of colors on iridescent feathers
  17. a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage
    he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway
  1. employ in a game or in a specific position
    They played him on first base
  2. play on an instrument
    The band played all night long
  3. be received or accepted or interpreted in a specific way
    His remarks played to the suspicions of the committee
    This speech didn't play well with the American public
  4. 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
  5. cause to emit recorded audio or video
    He never tires of playing that video
    I'll play you my favorite record
    They ran the tapes over and over again
  6. discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream
    The fountains played all day
    play water from a hose
  7. bet or wager (money)
    She plays the races
    He played $20 on the new horse
  8. perform music on (a musical instrument)
    He plays the flute
    Can you play on this old recorder?
  9. 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
  10. be performed or presented for public viewing
    What's playing in the local movie theater?
    `Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years
  11. behave in a certain way
    play fair
    play it safe
    play safe
  12. replay (as a melody)
    Play it again, Sam
    She played the third movement very beautifully
  13. use to one's advantage
    She plays on her clients' emotions
  14. be at play; be engaged in playful activity; amuse oneself in a way characteristic of children
    I used to play with trucks as a little girl
    The kids were playing outside all day
  15. engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion
    On weekends I play
    The students all recreate alike
  16. exhaust by allowing to pull on the line
    play a hooked fish
  17. act or have an effect in a specified way or with a specific effect or outcome
    I played no role in your dismissal
    This factor played only a minor part in his decision
    This development played into her hands
  18. engage in an activity as if it were a game rather than take it seriously
    play the stock market
    toy with an idea
    play with her feelings
    They played games on their opponents
  19. perform on a certain location
    She has been playing on Broadway for years
    The prodigy played Carnegie Hall at the age of 16
  20. cause to happen or to occur as a consequence
    bring comments
    I cannot work a miracle
    wreak havoc
    play a joke
    The rain brought relief to the drought-stricken area
  21. move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly
    The spotlights played on the politicians
  22. pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind
    She plays deaf when the news are bad
    He acted the idiot
  23. use or move
    I had to play my queen
  24. perform on a stage or theater
    He acted in `Julius Caesar'
    She acts in this play
    I played in `A Christmas Carol'
  25. contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle
    Princeton plays Yale this weekend
    Charlie likes to play Mary
  26. behave carelessly or indifferently
    Play about with a young girl's affection
  27. pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity
    Play cowboy and Indians
    Let's play like I am mommy
  28. shoot or hit in a particular manner
    She played a good backhand last night
  29. make bets
    play the casinos in Trouville
    Play the races
  30. participate in games or sport
    Pele played for the Brazilian teams in many important matches
    play cards
    We played hockey all afternoon
  31. stake on the outcome of an issue
    She played all her money on the dark horse
    I bet $100 on that new horse
  32. cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space
    The engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack
  33. play a role or part
    She wants to act Lady Macbeth, but she is too young for the role
    Gielgud played Hamlet
    She played the servant to her husband's master
  34. consider not very seriously
    She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania
    He is trifling with her
  35. emit recorded sound
    the stereo was playing Beethoven when I entered
    The tape was playing for hours
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How To Use play In A Sentence

  • There were 42 free-kicks, two penalties, four bookings and three players sent off, two of whom had to be escorted from the pitch by police.
  • A little pyrotechnics display tacked on just serves to emphasise its lack of cutting edge. Times, Sunday Times
  • She tore her eyes from them for a moment to spy the bodhrán player in the tree, tapping out her rhythm with her eyes closed, not noticing the spy amongst them.
  • He wrote and tcanslaited many fortunate connexion « Mr. Boweai other works, and among the rest being unable to pay the costs in-* wa»the author of one play, called curred by the suit in the Spiritual Biographia dramatica, or, A companion to the playhouse:
  • The poems, plays, and essays of the committed cultural nationalist are characterized by a markedly hortatory or didactic manner.
  • Rows of brick garden apartments all backed onto a massive common garden: a shared backyard for children to play, dogs to gambol, and families to eat picnics together. Day of Honey
  • Petanque may be the only sport inspired by a disability - that of Jules LeNoir, who in 1910 was a dedicated player of boules, a French game much like bocce ball.
  • He literally danced his music into being, conducting his bass players, drummers and horn section with his hips.
  • I have no great picture of her to link because I am out of town in San Francisco and all the pictures I have are the naked librarian Playboy centerfolds I got in email a few days back.
  • I think a lot of players from bigger clubs have spent time on loan at smaller clubs and it has really helped.
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