To play off

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. pflegen; of unknown origin. [root]28. Cf. {Plight}, n.] 1. To engage in sport or lively recreation; to exercise for the sake of amusement; to frolic; to spot. [1913 Webster]

As Cannace was playing in her walk. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play! --Pope. [1913 Webster]

And some, the darlings of their Lord, Play smiling with the flame and sword. --Keble. [1913 Webster]

2. To act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be careless. [1913 Webster]

``Nay,'' quod this monk, ``I have no lust to pleye.'' --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

Men are apt to play with their healths. --Sir W. Temple. [1913 Webster]

3. To contend, or take part, in a game; as, to play ball; hence, to gamble; as, he played for heavy stakes. [1913 Webster]

4. To perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a flute. [1913 Webster]

One that . . . can play well on an instrument. --Ezek. xxxiii. 32. [1913 Webster]

Play, my friend, and charm the charmer. --Granville. [1913 Webster]

5. To act; to behave; to practice deception. [1913 Webster]

His mother played false with a smith. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate; to act; as, the fountain plays. [1913 Webster]

The heart beats, the blood circulates, the lungs play. --Cheyne. [1913 Webster]

7. To move gayly; to wanton; to disport. [1913 Webster]

Even as the waving sedges play with wind. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

The setting sun Plays on their shining arms and burnished helmets. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

All fame is foreign but of true desert, Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

8. To act on the stage; to personate a character. [1913 Webster]

A lord will hear your play to-night. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Courts are theaters where some men play. --Donne. [1913 Webster]

{To play into a person's hands}, to act, or to manage matters, to his advantage or benefit.

{To play off}, to affect; to feign; to practice artifice.

{To play upon}. (a) To make sport of; to deceive. [1913 Webster]

Art thou alive? Or is it fantasy that plays upon our eyesight. --Shak. [1913 Webster] (b) To use in a droll manner; to give a droll expression or application to; as, to play upon words. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • play off — transitive verb Date: 1606 1. a. to set in opposition for one s own gain b. to set in contrast 2. to complete the playing of (an interrupted contest) 3. to break (a tie) by a play off …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • play-off — noun Date: 1895 1. a final contest or series of contests to determine the winner between contestants or teams that have tied 2. a series of contests played after the end of the regular season to determine a championship often used in plural …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • To play off — 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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