verb (used without object)

to engage in make-believe.
to be insincere or affected in speech, manner, etc.: It's hard to get away with playacting with members of one's own family.
to perform in a play.

verb (used with object)

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for playacting

Historical Examples of playacting

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

  • 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