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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Play


PLAY, verb intransitive

1. To use any exercise for pleasure or recreation; to do something not as a task or for profit, but for amusement; as, to play at cricket.

The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play Exodus 32:6.

2. To sport; to frolick; to frisk.

The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to day,

Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?

3. To toy; to act with levity.

4. To trifle; to act wantonly and thoughtlessly.

Men are apt to play with their healths and their lives as they do with their clothes.

5. To do something fanciful; to give a fanciful turn to; as, to play upon words.

6. To make sport, or practice sarcastic merriment.

I would make use of it rather to play upon those I despise, than trifle with those I love.

7. To mock; to practice illusion.

Art thou alive,

Or is it fancy plays upon our eyesight?

8. To contend in a game; as, to play at cards or dice; to play for diversion; to play for money.

9. To practice a trick or deception.

His mother played false with a smith.

10. To perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a flute, a violin or a harpsichord.

PLAY, my friend, and charm the charmer.

11. To move, or to move with alternate dilatation and contraction.

The heart beats, the blood circulates, the lungs play

12. To operate; to act. The engines play against a fire.

13. To move irregularly; to wanton.

Ev'n as the waving sedges play with wind.

The setting sun

PLAYs on their shining arms and burnish'd helmets.

All fame is foreign, but of true desert,

PLAYs round the head, but comes not to the heart.

14. To act a part on the stage; to personate a character.

A lord will hear you play to-night.

15. To represent a standing character.

Courts are theaters where some men play

16. To act in any particular character; as, to play the fool; to play the woman; to play the man.

17. To move in any manner; to move one way and another; as any part of a machine.

PLAY, verb transitive To put in action or motion; as, to play cannon or a fire-engine.

1. To use an instrument of music; as, to play the flute or the organ.

2. To act a sportive part or character.

Nature here

Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will

Her virgin fancies.

3. To act or perform by representing a character; as, to play a comedy; to play the part of king Lear.

4. To act; to perform; as, to play our parts well on the stage of life.

5. To perform in contest for amusement or for a prize; as, to play a game at whist.

To play off, to display; to show; to put in exercise; as, to play off tricks.

To play on or upon, to deceive; to mock or to trifle with.

1. To give a fanciful turn to.

PLAY, noun Any exercise or series of actions intended for pleasure, amusement or diversion, as at cricket or quoit, or at blind man's buff.

1. Amusement; sport; frolic; gambols.

Two gentle fawns at play

2. Game; gaming; practice of contending for victory, for amusement or for a prize, as at dice, cards or billiards.

3. Practice in any contest; as sword-play.

He was resolved not to speak distinctly, knowing his best play to be in the dark.

John naturally loved rough play

4. Action; use; employment; office.

--But justifies the next who comes in play

5. Practice; action; manner of acting in contest or negotiation; as fair play; foul play

6. A dramatic composition; a comedy or tragedy; a composition in which characters are represented by dialogue and action.

A play ought to be a just image of human nature.

7. Representation or exhibition of a comedy or tragedy; as, to be at the play He attends every play

8. Performance on an instrument of music.

9. Motion; movement, regular or irregular; as the play of a wheel or piston.

10. State of agitation or discussion.

Many have been sav'd, and many may,

Who never heard this question brought in play

11. Room for motion.

The joints are let exactly into one another, that they have no play between them.

12. Liberty of acting; room for enlargement or display; scope; as, to give full play to mirth. Let the genius have free play