View synonyms for play up

play up


  1. tr to emphasize or highlight

    to play up one's best features

  2. informal.
    to behave irritatingly (towards)
  3. informal.
    intr (of a machine, car, etc) to function erratically

    the car is playing up again

  4. informal.
    to hurt; give (one) pain or trouble

    my back's playing me up again

  5. play up to
    1. to support (another actor) in a performance
    2. to try to gain favour with by flattery

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Idioms and Phrases

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 .

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Example Sentences

The dress bizarrely burdened Hurley with a ready-made character to play up to, which she did without overt complaint.

All the women in this video play up subtle sexiness between colored neon, film noir lighting, and sexy silhouettes.

Certainly the Obama campaign tried to play up the age difference.

And, like Fox, ABC seems to want to play up limited event-driven programming.

As a result, media and Netizens are tempted to play up sexy angles.

I was afraid you wouldn't like it, but you must try to understand that I was forced to play up to local sentiment.

He was clever enough at his work, but it was difficult to make him play games, and impossible to make him play up.

The notch in the guard must be long enough to give the bolt free play up and down.

"I suppose you think you're going to cut the youngster out as well with the other one, and play up with her," Barber added.

They embarked as natives in a native ship, and from the very outset they found it necessary to play up to their disguise.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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