Definition and Meanings for play

·This dictionary definitions come from open dictionary GNU Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
·The meaning of a word in English varies according to its part of speech , for this reason the different meanings are ordered by their part of speech.
·It is a very easy to use dictionary , very well structured that will allow you to solve all your doubts on any word and you also will deepen the knowledge of the English language.


Play is ranked 940 in the ranking of most used words in English

Part of Speech of play

intransitive verb, imperfect, past participle, present participle, verbal noun, noun, transitive verb

Etymology of play

oe. pleien, as. plegian, plegan, to play, akin to plega play, game, quick motion, and probably to os. plegan to promise, pledge, d. plegen to care for, attend to, be wont, g. pflegen; of unknown origin. plight, n.pos

Meaning of play


as intransitive verb, imperfect, past participle, present participle, verbal noun, noun

  • to engage in sport or lively recreation; to exercise for the sake of amusement; to frolic; to spot.
  • to act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be careless.
  • to contend, or take part, in a game; as, to play ball; hence, to gamble; as, he played for heavy stakes.
  • to perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a flute.
  • to act; to behave; to practice deception.
  • to move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate; to act; as, the fountain plays.
  • to move gayly; to wanton; to disport.
  • to act on the stage; to personate a character.

as transitive verb

  • to put in action or motion; as, to play cannon upon a fortification; to play a trump.
  • to perform music upon; as, to play the flute or the organ.
  • to perform, as a piece of music, on an instrument; as, to play a waltz on the violin.
  • to bring into sportive or wanton action; to exhibit in action; to execute; as, to play tricks.
  • to act or perform (a play); to represent in music action; as, to play a comedy; also, to act in the character of; to represent by acting; to simulate; to behave like; as, to play king lear; to play the woman.
  • to engage in, or go together with, as a contest for amusement or for a wager or prize; as, to play a game at baseball.
  • to keep in play, as a hooked fish, in order to land it.

as noun

  • amusement; sport; frolic; gambols.
  • any exercise, or series of actions, intended for amusement or diversion; a game.
  • the act or practice of contending for victory, amusement, or a prize, as at dice, cards, or billiards; gaming; as, to lose a fortune in play.
  • action; use; employment; exercise; practice; as, fair play; sword play; a play of wit.
  • a dramatic composition; a comedy or tragedy; a composition in which characters are represented by dialogue and action.
  • the representation or exhibition of a comedy or tragedy; as, he attends ever play.
  • performance on an instrument of music.
  • motion; movement, regular or irregular; as, the play of a wheel or piston; hence, also, room for motion; free and easy action.
  • hence, liberty of acting; room for enlargement or display; scope; as, to give full play to mirth.
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