play-off

[ pley-awf, -of ]
/ ˈpleɪˌɔf, -ˌɒf /

noun

(in competitive sports) the playing of an extra game, rounds, innings, etc., in order to settle a tie.
a series of games or matches, as between the leading teams of two leagues, in order to decide a championship: In America the most exciting play-off is the World Series.

Origin of play-off

First recorded in 1890–95; noun use of verb phrase play off

Definition for play off (2 of 2)

Origin of play

before 900; (noun) Middle English pleye, Old English plega; (v.) Middle English pleyen, Old English pleg(i)an (cognate with Middle Dutch pleien to leap for joy, dance, rejoice, be glad)

SYNONYMS FOR play

2 show.
3 diversion, pastime. Play, game, sport refer to forms of diverting activity. Play is the general word for any such form of activity, often undirected, spontaneous, or random: Childhood should be a time for play. Game refers to a recreational contest, mental or physical, usually governed by set rules: a game of chess. Besides referring to an individual contest, game may refer to a pastime as a whole: Golf is a good game. If, however, the pastime is one (usually an outdoor one) depending chiefly on physical strength, though not necessarily a contest, the word sport is applied: Football is a vigorous sport.
18, 19 liberty.
23 enact.
25 personate, impersonate.
30 use.
32 bet.
33 back.
45 sport, frolic, romp, revel.
47 dally.

OTHER WORDS FROM play

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for play off (1 of 2)

play off

verb (adverb)

(tr usually foll by against) to deal with or manipulate as if in playing a gameto play one person off against another
(intr) to take part in a play-off

noun play-off

sport an extra contest to decide the winner when two or more competitors are tied
mainly US and Canadian a contest or series of games to determine a championship, as between the winners of two competitions

British Dictionary definitions for play off (2 of 2)

play
/ (pleɪ) /

verb

noun

Derived forms of play

playability, nounplayable, adjective

Word Origin for play

Old English plega (n), plegan (vb); related to Middle Dutch pleyen
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

Idioms and Phrases with play off (1 of 2)

play off

1

See under play both ends against the middle.

2

Break a tie by playing an additional game or period, as in Each team had won three games so they had to play off the tie to decide the championship.

Idioms and Phrases with play off (2 of 2)

play

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.