[noun mis-pley, mis-pley; verb mis-pley]Sports, Games.


a wrong or bad play.
a play prohibited by the rules.

verb (used with object)

to make an error or incorrect play on or with; play wrongly: The catcher misplayed the ball, allowing the base runner to score.
to make a play on or with (a card, chess piece, etc.) prohibited by the rules.

Origin of misplay

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70; mis-1 + play
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for misplay

Historical Examples of misplay

  • His misplay had taken his nerve, and for a while he went thoroughly to pieces.

    The Lucky Seventh

    Ralph Henry Barbour

  • This case is excluded from the definition of misplay, and the penalty exacted is less.



  • If the coach counselled that misplay, his counsel was an error.

  • It was too good an opportunity to get a hold over the boy for Agno to misplay it.

  • We lost at least fifty thousand dollars that afternoon by that one misplay.

British Dictionary definitions for misplay



(tr) to play badly or wrongly in games or sportsthe batsman misplayed the ball


a wrong or unskilful 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

Word Origin and History for misplay

1889 in baseball context, from mis- (1) + play (n.). As a verb from 1824 (originally in music; 1842 in games). Related: Misplayed; misplaying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper