See more synonyms for playact on
verb (used without object)
  1. to engage in make-believe.
  2. to be insincere or affected in speech, manner, etc.: It's hard to get away with playacting with members of one's own family.
  3. to perform in a play.
verb (used with object)
  1. to dramatize (something): They playacted the movements of a burglar.

Origin of playact

1895–1900; back formation from playacting; see play, act, -ing1
Related formsplay·act·ing, nounplay·ac·tor, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for play-act

Contemporary Examples of play-act

Historical Examples of play-act

  • I thought he could play-act the thing in his mind too well ever to be the thing itself.

  • I am merely vexed that you should play-act to me, and to Bezobiedoff, and to yourself.


    Leo Tolstoy

  • It had been helpful and even laudable to play-act the chief scenes when the story was beginning, but now they had no time.

    Red Cap Tales

    Samuel Rutherford Crockett

  • You're such a sinful old 'ypocrite, that you play-act before yourself, I do believe.

British Dictionary definitions for play-act


  1. (intr) to pretend or make believe
  2. (intr) to behave in an overdramatic or affected manner
  3. to act in or as in (a play)
Derived Formsplay-acting, nounplay-actor, noun
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