Synonyms of play in English:



  • 1 Aidan and Robert were playing with their toys
    amuse oneself, entertain oneself, enjoy oneself, have fun; relax, occupy oneself, divert oneself; frolic, frisk, romp, caper
    informal mess around
  • 2 I used to play hockey
    take part in, participate in, be involved in, compete in, do
  • 3 St. Joseph's plays Boston on Sunday
    compete against, take on, challenge, vie with, face, go up against
  • 4 he was to play Macbeth
    act (the part of), take the role of, appear as, portray, depict, impersonate, represent, render, perform, enact
    formal personate
  • 5 get your guitar and let's play
    perform, make music, jam
  • 6 Bryanna played a note on the flute
    make, produce, reproduce; blow, toot; plunk, bang out; sound
  • 7 the sunlight played on the water
    dance, flit, ripple, touch; sparkle, glint
  • noun

    Back to top  
  • 1 a balance between work and play
    amusement, entertainment, relaxation, recreation, diversion, distraction, leisure; enjoyment, pleasure, fun, games, fun and games; horseplay, merrymaking, revelry
    informal living it up
  • 2 a Shakespearean play
    drama, theatrical work; screenplay, comedy, tragedy; production, performance, show, sketch
  • 3 a new tool came into play
    action, activity, operation, working, function; interaction, interplay
  • 4 there is foul play afoot
    behavior, goings-on, activity, action, deed
  • 5 there was a little play in the rope
    movement, slack, give; room to maneuver, scope, latitude
  • Phrases

    play around

    informal he's been playing around for yearswomanizephilanderhave affairsflirt informalcarry onmess aroundplay the fieldsleep aroundfool around

    play at being

    she just plays at being the caring onepretend to bepass oneself off asmasquerade asprofess to bepose asimpersonatefakefeignsimulateaffect informalmake like

    play ball

    informal if you play ball, I can help youco-operatecollaborateplay the gamehelplend a handassistcontribute informalpitch in

    play down

    officials tried to play down the extent of the damagemake light ofmake little ofgloss overde-emphasizedownplayunderstatesoft-pedaltone downdiminishtrivializeunderrateunderestimateundervaluedisparagebelittlescoff atsneer atshrug off informalpooh-pooh

    play for time

    all his opponents accused him of playing for time in order to pull an election-year coupstalltemporizedelayhold backhang fireprocrastinatedrag one's feet

    play it by ear

    when a guest doesn't show up for live radio, you learn quickly how to play it by earimproviseextemporizead lib informalwing it

    play on

    they play on our fearsexploittake advantage ofuseturn to (one's) accountprofit bycapitalize ontrade onmilkabuse

    play the fool

    by the time she was ten, Ronnie knew it was her God-given job to play the foolclown aroundfool aroundmess aroundmonkey aroundjoke informalhorse around

    play the game

    you find out early on who's willing to play the game, and that's the kind of person this company holds on toplay fairbe fairplay by the rulesconformbe a good sporttoe the line

    play up

    his agents really play up the story of his rise from povertyemphasizeaccentuatecall attention topoint upunderlinehighlightspotlightforegroundfeaturestressaccent

    play up to

    wannabes who play up to the bossingratiate oneself withcurry favor withcourtfawn overmake up totoady tocrawl topander toflatter informalsoft-soapsuck up tobutter uplick someone's boots

    Definition of play in:

    Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

    Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

    Word of the day hypnopompic
    Pronunciation: ˌhɪpnə(ʊ)ˈpɒmpɪk
    relating to the state immediately preceding waking up