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play */*/*/
I UK [pleɪ] / US verb
Word forms "play":
present tense I/you/we/they play he/she/it plays present participle playing past tense played past participle played
1) [intransitive/transitive] to take part in a sport or game

The children were playing football in the park.

Shall we play cards or chess?

He played well, though his team lost.

play for:

He played for AC Milan before he transferred to Arsenal.

a) [intransitive/transitive] to compete against someone in a sport or game

She plays the winner of tomorrow's match.

Bayern Munich will play Real Madrid tomorrow evening.

play against:

England will be playing against Brazil in the next round.

b) [transitive] to use a particular person in your team

They decided not to play Beckham because of his knee injury.

c) [intransitive/transitive] to have a particular position in a sports team

She plays in defence.

d) [transitive] to hit or kick a ball

The ball was going out so he was right not to play it.

2)
a) [intransitive/transitive] to perform music, or to use an instrument to make music

He played several organ pieces by Bach.

Gloria plays the violin in the London Philharmonic.

The orchestra played beautifully tonight.

b) to make something such as a radio, CD etc start to produce sounds, or to be made to do this

They played the CD at full volume.

A tape was played in court in which he confessed to the crime.

I could hear a radio playing in the flat above.

3) [transitive] to have a particular part in a play or film

She played Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.

The role of the mother was played by one of Australia's finest actresses.

a) [intransitive] to act in a particular play

I was asked to play in a new version of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

b) [intransitive] if a play or film is playing somewhere, it is being performed or shown there

What's playing at the local cinema?

4)
a) [intransitive/transitive] if children play or play something, they do things that they enjoy, for example using toys and taking part in games

The children were out playing in the garden.

Molly and Lilly were playing happily together.

play by yourself (= when you are alone):

Tom's very good at playing by himself.

play with:

She watched some children playing with a ball in the street.

b) [transitive] to pretend to be someone else while playing

Let's play doctors and nurses.

5) [intransitive] mainly literary if something such as light plays somewhere, it moves quickly over a surface, appearing in different places for a very short time

Moonlight played on the surface of the lake.

(if you) play your cards rightinformal used for saying that if someone behaves in the right way, they might be successful

If you play your cards right, he might ask you back to his house.

play ball (with someone)informal to do something, often something dishonest, that someone wants you to do

Because he refused to play ball with these criminals, he was shot and seriously wounded.

play (something) by ear — to perform a piece of music by remembering what it sounds like, without looking at the notes

play (it) safe — to avoid taking any risks

It's probably OK to eat them raw, but it's best to play it safe by cooking them.

play a joke/trick on someone — to do something to someone that you think is funny because it makes them look silly or feel embarrassed

His friends played a cruel trick on him.

play a part/role in something — to be involved in something, especially in a way that is important

Her father had never played a big part in her life.

She played a key role in campaigning for equal opportunities in the workplace.

play (right/straight) into someone's hands — to do something that helps someone who you are competing against

You'll be playing straight into their hands if you involve the police.

play the (stock) market — to invest in stocks or shares because you want to make money

Phrasal verbs:
See:

II UK [pleɪ] / US noun
Word forms "play":
singular play plural plays
1) [countable] a piece of writing intended to be performed by actors in a theatre or on television or the radio

a West End play

Have you seen Maggie Smith's latest play?

She writes radio and television plays.

put on/perform a play:

The school will be putting on a Shakespeare play this summer.


Collocations:
Verbs frequently used with play as the object ▪  direct, perform, produce, put on, rehearse, stage, write
2)
a) [uncountable] activities that are done because they are enjoyable and fun, especially by children

The infants have a play period right after lunch.

at play:

She watched the children at play in the park.

b) [singular] the activity of playing for a period of time

You can have a little play, and then it's time for bed.

3)
a) [uncountable] the action in a sport or game

The golf match was suspended during the storm, but play resumed later on.

The wet and muddy conditions determined the style of play.

b) [countable/uncountable] a particular action in a game, or the quality of the action

That was good play by Henman.

4) [uncountable] if there is play in something such as a rope, it is not stretched tight and you can move it
See:

English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • play — [plā] vi. [ME plein < OE plegan, to play, be active] 1. to move lightly, rapidly, or erratically; flutter [sunlight playing on the waves] 2. to amuse oneself, as by taking part in a game or sport; engage in recreation 3. to take active part in …   English World dictionary

  • Play — may refer to: * Play (activity), enjoyment by humans * Play (animal behaviour)‎ * Play (theatre), structured literary form or theatreIn music* Play 99.6 (radio), Jordan s No.1 Hit Music Radio Station * Play (Mexican band) (or Grupo Play ),… …   Wikipedia

  • play — ► VERB 1) engage in games or other activities for enjoyment rather than for a serious or practical purpose. 2) take part in (a sport or contest). 3) compete against. 4) take a specified position in a sports team. 5) represent (a character) in a… …   English terms dictionary

  • Play — Play, n. 1. Amusement; sport; frolic; gambols. [1913 Webster] 2. Any exercise, or series of actions, intended for amusement or diversion; a game. [1913 Webster] John naturally loved rough play. Arbuthnot. [1913 Webster] 3. The act or practice of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Play — Play, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Played}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Playing}.] [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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Play — Play, v. t. 1. To put in action or motion; as, to play cannon upon a fortification; to play a trump. [1913 Webster] First Peace and Silence all disputes control, Then Order plays the soul. Herbert. [1913 Webster] 2. To perform music upon; as, to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • play³ — Beschreibung Multiplattform Spielemagazin Verlag …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • PLAY.FM — is an web radio and online audio database for DJ and club culture. DJ sets, radio shows and live recordings are collected and can be listend to on demand. The PLAY.FM studio and the office are located in the Museumsquartier in the 7th district of …   Wikipedia

  • Play 3 — Play³ Beschreibung Multiplattform Spielemagazin Verlag Computec Media AG …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Play³ — Beschreibung Multiplattform Spielemagazin Verlag Computec Media AG …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Play On — Студийный альбом Кэрри Андервуд Д …   Википедия


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