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[plahy-uh] /ˈplaɪ ə/
Western U.S. the sandy, salty, or mud-caked flat floor of a desert basin having interior drainage, usually occupied by a shallow lake during or after prolonged, heavy rains.
Compare dry lake.
Origin of playa
1850-55, Americanism; < Spanish: shore < Late Latin plagia; see plage Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for playa
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This famous engagement was thenceforth known as the Battle of playa Honda.

    The Philippine Islands John Foreman
  • "Maka him grow an' dance an' playa fid, lika yo' bear," he said, sullenly.

    The Arkansaw Bear Albert Bigelow Paine
  • My woman say no coulda do thatta if playa all day on bricka walks.


    Ernest Vincent Wright
  • I ascended one, and we proceeded slowly along the playa or strand.

    The Bible in Spain George Borrow
  • Russell used to pay me a regular visit to the Fonda de la playa.

    Romantic Spain John Augustus O'Shea
  • A brackish lagoon surrounded by mangroves and coconut groves, located just east of playa Azul.

  • The river vista everywhere includes a rapid and small patches of playa or flood plain on the inside of the river curves.

British Dictionary definitions for playa


/ˈplɑːjə; Spanish ˈplaja/
(in the US) a temporary lake, or its dry often salty bed, in a desert basin
Word Origin
Spanish: shore, from Late Latin plagia, from Greek plagios slanting, from plagos side; compare French plage beach
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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Contemporary definitions for playa

a colloquial spelling for player, in the sense of a person who is involved and influential in an activity


Are you a playa?

Usage Note

slang's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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playa in Science
A dry lake bed at the bottom of a desert basin, sometimes temporarily covered with water. Playas have no vegetation and are among the flattest geographical features in the world. Also called sink.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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