play fair

Behave honestly and honorably, obey the rules, as in Not every supplier we deal with plays fair, or We can't just leave them to find their own way back—that's not playing fair. Although this idiom conjures up playing by the rules in some game or sport, it actually has been used in this figurative way since the mid-1400s. Also see play the game.

Words Nearby play fair

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

How to use play fair in a sentence

  • Now, in this case, let us play fair, actuated by the one desire to see that justice is done.

    The Shrieking Pit | Arthur J. Rees
  • One question, Mr. Eckstein; do they play fair with all concerned?

    Empire Builders | Francis Lynde