Idioms for play

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 up (1 of 2)

play up

verb (adverb)

(tr) to emphasize or highlightto play up one's best features
British informal to behave irritatingly (towards)
(intr) British informal (of a machine, car, etc) to function erraticallythe car is playing up again
British informal to hurt; give (one) pain or troublemy back's playing me up again
play up to
  1. to support (another actor) in a performance
  2. to try to gain favour with by flattery

British Dictionary definitions for play up (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 up (1 of 2)

play up

Emphasize or publicize, as in In the press interview, the coach played up the importance of having a strong defense. [c. 1900] Also see play down; play up to.

Idioms and Phrases with play up (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.