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'play' - used as a noun
1. a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage
he wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway
2. a theatrical performance of a drama
the play lasted two hours
3. a preset plan of action in team sports
the coach drew up the plays for her team
4. a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill
the runner was out on a play by the shortstop
5. a state in which action is feasible
the ball was still in play
insiders said the company's stock was in play
6. utilization or exercise
the play of the imagination
7. an attempt to get something
they made a futile play for power
8. activity by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules
Freud believed in the utility of play to a small child
9. (in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds
rain stopped play in the 4th inning
10. the removal of constraints
they gave full play to the artist's talent
11. a weak and tremulous light
the play of light on the water
12. verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously)
13. movement or space for movement
there was too much play in the steering wheel
14. gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement
it was all done in play
15. (game) the activity of doing something in an agreed succession
it is still my play
16. the act of playing for stakes in the hope of winning (including the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize)
there was heavy play at the blackjack table
17. the act using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and skillfully

'play' - used as a verb
18. participate in games or sport
We played hockey all afternoon
play cards
Pele played for the Brazilian teams in many important matches
19. act or have an effect in a specified way or with a specific effect or outcome
This factor played only a minor part in his decision
This development played into her hands
I played no role in your dismissal
20. play on an instrument
The band played all night long
21. play a role or part
Gielgud played Hamlet
She played the servant to her husband's master
22. be at play; be engaged in playful activity; amuse oneself in a way characteristic of children
The kids were playing outside all day
I used to play with trucks as a little girl
23. replay (as a melody)
Play it again, Sam
She played the third movement very beautifully
24. perform music on (a musical instrument)
He plays the flute
Can you play on this old recorder?
25. pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind
She plays deaf when the news are bad
26. move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly
The spotlights played on the politicians
27. bet or wager (money)
He played $20 on the new horse
She plays the races
28. engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion
On weekends I play
29. pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity
Let's play like I am mommy
Play cowboy and Indians
30. emit recorded sound
The tape was playing for hours
the stereo was playing Beethoven when I entered
31. perform on a certain location
The prodigy played Carnegie Hall at the age of 16
She has been playing on Broadway for years
32. put (a card or piece) into play during a game, or act strategically as if in a card game
He is playing his cards close to his chest
The Democrats still have some cards to play before they will concede the electoral victory
33. engage in an activity as if it were a game rather than take it seriously
They played games on their opponents
play the stock market
play with her feelings
34. behave in a certain way
play safe
play it safe
play fair
35. cause to emit recorded sounds
Can you play my favorite record?
36. manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination
She played nervously with her wedding ring
He played with the idea of running for the Senate
37. use to one's advantage
She plays on her clients' emotions
38. consider not very seriously
She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania
39. be received or accepted or interpreted in a specific way
This speech didn't play well with the American public
His remarks played to the suspicions of the committee
40. behave carelessly or indifferently
Play about with a young girl's affection
41. cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space
The engine has a wheel that is playing in a rack
42. perform on a stage or theater
She acts in this play
I played in 'A Christmas Carol'
43. be performed
What's playing in the local movie theater?
'Cats' has been playing on Broadway for many years
44. cause to happen or to occur as a consequence
play a joke
45. discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream
play water from a hose
The fountains played all day
46. make bets
Play the races
play the casinos in Trouville
47. stake on the outcome of an issue
She played all her money on the dark horse
48. shoot or hit in a particular manner
She played a good backhand last night
49. use or move
I had to play my queen
50. employ in a game or in a specific position
They played him on first base
51. contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle
Princeton plays Yale this weekend
Charlie likes to play Mary
52. exhaust by allowing to pull on the line
play a hooked fish

derived forms
1. Play / Plural
2. Play / Past
3. Play / Third Person
4. Play / Present Participle
Variations of 'play'
Who Said that ?
Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act. - Click here to find out.
Fact of the day
During WWII, because a lot of players were called to duty, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles combined to become The Steagles.