or by·play



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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for by-play

Historical Examples of by-play

  • Captain Dawson showed less interest in this by-play than the others.

  • 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.

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