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1 play

A dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage:
— He wrote several plays but only one was produced on Broadway.

synonyms: drama, dramatic play.

Roget 748: freedom, liberty, independence; license etc. (permission) 760; facility etc. 705.    scope, range, latitude, ... show more

Roget 599: the drama, the stage, the theater, the play; film the film, movies, motion pictures, cinema, cinematography; theatricals, dramaturgy, histrionic art, buskin, sock, ... show more

Roget 180: space, extension, extent, superficial extent, expanse, stretch, hyperspace; room, scope, range, field, way, expansion, compass, ... show more

Roget 175: influence; importance etc. 642; weight, pressure, preponderance, prevalence, sway; predominance, predominancy; ascendency; dominance, reign; ... show more

Roget 170: agency, operation, force, working, strain, function, office, maintenance, exercise, work, swing, play; interworking, interaction; ... show more

Dutch: drama, spel, stuk, theateropvoering, theaterstuk, toneelspel, toneelstuk
Polish: dramat, sztuka

2 play

A theatrical performance of a drama.

3 play

A preset plan of action in team sports.

4 play

A deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill:
— The runner was out on a play by the shortstop.

synonyms: maneuver, manoeuvre.

Dutch: manoeuvre

5 play

A state in which action is feasible.

6 play

Utilization or exercise.

7 play

An attempt to get something:
— They made a futile play for power.

synonym: bid.

8 play

Activity by children that is guided more by imagination than by fixed rules:
— Freud believed in the utility of play to a small child.

synonym: child's play.

Dutch: kinderspel
Polish: zabawa

9 play

in games or plays or other performances The time during which play proceeds:
— Rain stopped play in the 4th inning.

synonyms: period of play, playing period.

10 play

The removal of constraints:
— They gave full play to the artist's talent.

synonym: free rein.

11 play

A weak and tremulous light:
— The play of light on the water.

synonym: shimmer.

Polish: gra

12 play

Verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously).

synonyms: fun, sport.

13 play

Movement or space for movement:
— There was too much play in the steering wheel.

synonym: looseness.

14 play

Gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement:
— It was all done in play.

synonyms: caper, frolic, gambol, romp.

Roget 840: amusement, entertainment, recreation, fun, game, fun and games; diversion, divertissement; reaction, solace; pastime, passetemps [Fr.], sport; ... show more

Dutch: luchtsprong, stoeien, stoeipartij
Polish: dokazywanie, swawola, figle, harce, psoty

15 play

game The activity of doing something in an agreed succession:
— It is still my play.

synonym: turn.

16 play

The act of playing for stakes in the hope of winning (including the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize):
— There was heavy play at the blackjack table.

synonyms: gambling, gaming.

Dutch: gokken
Polish: hazard

17 play

The act using a sword (or other weapon) vigorously and skillfully.

synonym: swordplay.


1 play

Participate in games or sport.

Dutch: spelen

2 play

Act or have an effect in a specified way or with a specific effect or outcome.

3 play

Play on an instrument.

Dutch: musiceren, spelen

4 play

Play a role or part:
— Gielgud played Hamlet.
— She played the servant to her husband's master.

synonyms: act, represent.

Roget 554: represent, delineate; depict, depicture; portray; take a likeness, catch a likeness etc. n.; hit off, photograph, daguerreotype; snapshot; ... show more

Roget 680: do, perform, execute; achieve etc. (complete) 729; transact, enact; commit, perpetrate, inflict; exercise, prosecute, ... show more

Roget 170: be in action etc. adj.; operate, work; act, act upon; perform, play, support, sustain, strain, maintain, ... show more

Dutch: acteren, spelen, toneelspelen

5 play

Be at play; be engaged in playful activity; amuse oneself in a way characteristic of children.

Dutch: spelen

6 play

Replay (as a melody):
— Play it again, Sam.
— She played the third movement very beautifully.

synonym: spiel.

Dutch: opzetten

7 play

Perform music on (a musical instrument).

Dutch: bespelen, manipuleren, spelen

8 play

Pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind:
— She plays deaf when the news are bad.

synonyms: act, act as.

Roget 599: act, play, perform; put on the stage; personate etc. 554; mimic etc. (imitate) 19; enact; play a part, act a part, ... show more

Dutch: betonen, houden, uithangen, voordoen

9 play

Move or seem to move quickly, lightly, or irregularly.

10 play

Bet or wager (money).

11 play

Engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion:
— On weekends I play.

synonym: recreate.

Dutch: recreƫren, verpozen

12 play

Pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity.

13 play

Emit recorded sound.

14 play

Perform on a certain location.

15 play

Put (a card or piece) into play during a game, or act strategically as if in a card game.

Dutch: spelen, vallen

16 play

Engage in an activity as if it were a game rather than take it seriously:
— They played games on their opponents.
— Play the stock market.
— Play with her feelings.

synonym: toy.

17 play

Behave in a certain way.

18 play

Cause to emit recorded audio or video:
— I'll play you my favorite record.
— He never tires of playing that video.

synonym: run.

Dutch: afdraaien, afspelen, draaien

19 play

Manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination:
— She played nervously with her wedding ring.
— He played with the idea of running for the Senate.

synonyms: diddle, fiddle, toy.

Roget 416: play, pipe, strike up, sweep the chords, tweedle, fiddle; strike the lyre, beat the drum; blow the horn, sound the horn, wind the horn; doodle; grind the organ; touch the guitar ... show more

Dutch: spelen, stoeien

20 play

Use to one's advantage.

21 play

Consider not very seriously:
— She plays with the thought of moving to Tasmania.

synonyms: dally, trifle.

22 play

Be received or accepted or interpreted in a specific way.

23 play

Behave carelessly or indifferently:
— Play about with a young girl's affection.

synonyms: dally, flirt, toy.

Dutch: spelen

24 play

Cause to move or operate freely within a bounded space.

25 play

Perform on a stage or theater:
— She acts in this play.
— I played in `A Christmas Carol'.

synonyms: act, playact, roleplay.

Dutch: rollenspel

26 play

Be performed or presented for public viewing.

27 play

Cause to happen or to occur as a consequence:
— Play a joke.

synonyms: bring, make for, work, wreak.

Roget 677: use, make use of, employ, put to use; put in action, put in operation, put in practice; set in motion, set to work.    ply, work, wield, handle, manipulate; ... show more

Dutch: aanrichten

28 play

Discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream.

29 play

Make bets.

Roget 314: oscillate; vibrate, librate; alternate, undulate, wave; rock, swing; pulsate, beat; wag, waggle; nod, bob, ... show more

30 play

Stake on the outcome of an issue:
— She played all her money on the dark horse.

synonyms: bet, wager.

Dutch: er op kunnen rekenen, wedden

31 play

Shoot or hit in a particular manner.

32 play

Use or move.

33 play

Employ in a game or in a specific position.

34 play

Contend against an opponent in a sport, game, or battle:
— Princeton plays Yale this weekend.
— Charlie likes to play Mary.

synonyms: encounter, meet, take on.

35 play

Exhaust by allowing to pull on the line.

Moby thesaurus: ALGOL, COBOL, FORTRAN, Grand Guignol, Passion play, Tom show, abuse, accentuate, accompany, act, act a part, act as, act as foil, act out, act up, acting, action, actions, activism, activity ... show more.

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