Idioms

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.

ANTONYMS FOR play

3, 45 work.

Related forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for play out (1 of 2)

play out


verb (adverb)

(tr) to finishlet's play the game out if we aren't too late
(tr; often passive) informal to use up or exhaust
(tr) to release graduallyhe played the rope out
(intr) to happen or turn outLet's wait and see how things play out

British Dictionary definitions for play out (2 of 2)

play

/ (pleɪ) /

verb

noun

Derived Forms

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 out (1 of 2)

play out


1

Finish, run out, as in This extreme fashion will soon play out, or The tension between factions will surely play itself out by next year. [Late 1500s]

2

Unwind, unreel, as in They slowly played out the cable. Also see played out.

Idioms and Phrases with play out (2 of 2)

play


In addition to the idioms beginning with play

  • play along
  • play a losing game
  • play around
  • play at
  • play a waiting game
  • play back
  • play ball
  • play both ends against the middle
  • play by ear
  • play cat and mouse
  • play down
  • played out
  • play fair
  • play false
  • play fast and loose
  • play footsie
  • play for
  • play for keeps
  • play for laughs
  • play for time
  • play games
  • play hardball
  • play hard to get
  • play havoc
  • play hide and seek
  • play hooky
  • play in Peoria
  • play into the hands of
  • play it close to one's chest
  • play it cool
  • play it safe
  • play musical chairs
  • play off
  • play on
  • play one's cards close to one's chest
  • play one's cards right
  • play one's trump card
  • play on words
  • play out
  • play politics
  • play possum
  • play safe
  • play second fiddle
  • play the devil with
  • play the field
  • play the fool
  • play the game
  • play the heavy
  • play the market
  • play to the gallery
  • play up
  • play upon
  • play up to
  • play with fire

also see:

  • all work and no play
  • child's play
  • devil's advocate, play
  • fair play
  • foul play
  • game that two can play
  • grandstand play
  • in play
  • make a play for
  • musical chairs, play
  • squeeze play
  • trump card, play one's
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.