• synonyms


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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to dramatize (something): They playacted the movements of a burglar.
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Origin of playact

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

Related Words

burlesque, characterize, do, dramatize, emote, enact, feign, ham, impersonate, mime, mimic, mug, parody, perform, personify, play, portray, pretend, rehearse, represent

Examples from the Web for playacting

Historical Examples

  • Snap out of that playacting and tell me what you are doing here!

    Dorothy Dixon and the Double Cousin

    Dorothy Wayne

  • Which the playacting have likeways brought him to London along with me.

    Great Expectations

    Charles Dickens

  • Even here his so-called honor is little more than a form of playacting, both maudlin and dishonest.

    In Defense of Women

    H. L. Mencken

  • At this point her cogitations were interrupted and her playacting spoiled by the unexpected return of mother and Aunt Nettie.


    Dana Gatlin