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grandstand play

an ostentatious play, as in a sport, overemphasized deliberately to elicit applause from spectators.
any action or attempt designed to win approval or to make a strong impression:
His going to work on Christmas was another of his grandstand plays.
Origin of grandstand play
An Americanism dating back to 1890-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for grandstand play
Historical Examples
  • I made a grandstand play for others, but was turned down hard.

    Tom Slade on the River Percy K. Fitzhugh
  • You couldn't expect me to compete with a hero, who is making such a grandstand play as Morley.

    A Romance of Billy-Goat Hill Alice Hegan Rice
  • They spent so much time in arguin' and makin' grandstand play, that the interests of the city were forgotten.

    Plunkitt of Tammany Hall George Washington Plunkitt
  • Charles stood up, prudence and timidity washed away by a burning need to make up for his embarrassment with a grandstand play.

    The Syndic C.M. Kornbluth
  • So leave me alone with your last big efforts—and grandstand play for glory.

    Stand by for Mars! Carey Rockwell
Slang definitions & phrases for grandstand play

grandstand play

noun phrase

  1. A play made with special brilliance and brio, esp in order to impress the spectators
  2. Any action, speech, tactic, etc, designed to appeal to spectators; a tour de force: The President's pronouncement's just a grandstand play (1888+ Baseball)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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