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or byplay

[bahy-pley] /ˈbaɪˌpleɪ/
an action or speech carried on to the side while the main action proceeds, especially on the stage.
Origin of by-play
First recorded in 1805-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for by-play
Historical Examples
  • Captain Dawson showed less interest in this by-play than the others.

    A Waif of the Mountains Edward S. Ellis
  • The others were too interested in what was going on before them to observe the by-play.

    Up the Forked River

    Edward Sylvester Ellis
  • Don Estevan was not unobservant of this by-play that was passing around him.

    Wood Rangers Mayne Reid
  • None of this by-play was lost upon Laurence, but he showed no consciousness.

    The Sign of the Spider Bertram Mitford
  • The newcomers were beyond earshot, but the by-play was ominous to them.

    Judith of the Cumberlands

    Alice MacGowan
  • The unknown did not seem, however, to have noticed this little piece of by-play.

    The Day of Wrath Maurus Jkai
  • "She is mad," signified the Superintendent in by-play to Mr. Gryce.

    That Affair Next Door Anna Katharine Green
  • The mother was too agitated to notice this by-play, but kept watch for her husband.

    The Young Ranchers Edward S. Ellis
  • But the girl had seen the by-play and had rightly interpreted its meaning.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • The by-play seemed to him to be very suitable, and he bought a morning paper.

    Dodo, Volumes 1 and 2 Edward Frederic Benson
British Dictionary definitions for by-play


secondary action or talking carried on apart while the main action proceeds, esp in a play
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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