Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary


35 entries found for play.
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Main Entry: 1play
Pronunciation: 'plA
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English plega; akin to Old English plegan to play, Middle Dutch pleyen
Date: before 12th century
1 a : SWORDPLAY b archaic : GAME, SPORT c : the conduct, course, or action of a game d : a particular act or maneuver in a game: as (1) : the action during an attempt to advance the ball in football (2) : the action in which a player is put out in baseball e : the action in which cards are played after bidding in a card game f : the moving of a piece in a board game (as chess) g : one's turn in a game <it's your play>
2 a obsolete : SEXUAL INTERCOURSE b : amorous flirtation : DALLIANCE
3 a : recreational activity; especially : the spontaneous activity of children b : absence of serious or harmful intent : JEST <said it in play> c : the act or an instance of playing on words or speech sounds d : GAMING, GAMBLING
4 a (1) : an act, way, or manner of proceeding : MANEUVER <that was a play to get your fingerprints -- Erle Stanley Gardner> (2) : DEAL, VENTURE b (1) : the state of being active, operative, or relevant <other motives surely come into play -- M. R. Cohen> <several issues are at play> (2) : brisk, fitful, or light movement <the gem presented a dazzling play of colors> (3) : free or unimpeded motion (as of a part of a machine); also : the length or measure of such motion (4) : scope or opportunity for action (5) : a function of an electronic device that causes a recording to play
5 : emphasis or publicity especially in the news media <wished the country received a better play in the American press -- Hugh MacLennan>
6 : a move or series of moves calculated to arouse friendly feelings -- usually used with make <made a big play for the girl -- Will Herman>
7 a : the stage representation of an action or story b : a dramatic composition : DRAMA
synonym see FUN
- in play : in condition or position to be legitimately played
- out of play : not in play