Meaning of PLAY in English

PLAY

/ pleɪ; NAmE / verb , noun

■ verb

OF CHILDREN

1.

play (with sb/sth) to do things for pleasure, as children do; to enjoy yourself, rather than work :

[ v ]

A group of kids were playing with a ball in the street.

You'll have to play inside today.

I haven't got anybody to play with!

There's a time to work and a time to play.

[ vn ]

Let's play a different game.

➡ note at entertainment

2.

[ no passive ] play (at doing) sth to pretend to be or do sth for fun :

[ vn ]

Let's play pirates.

[ v ]

They were playing at being cowboys.

TRICK

3.

[ vn ] play a trick / tricks (on sb) to trick sb for fun

SPORTS / GAMES

4.

play (sth) (with / against sb) | play sb (at sth) to be involved in a game; to compete against sb in a game :

[ vn ]

to play football / chess / cards, etc.

Have you played her at squash yet?

France are playing Wales tomorrow.

[ v ]

He plays for Cleveland.

France are playing against Wales on Saturday.

Evans played very well.

5.

to take a particular position in a sports team :

[ v ]

Who's playing on the wing?

[ v - n ]

I've never played right back before.

6.

[ vn ] to include sb in a sports team :

I think we should play Matt on the wing.

7.

[ vn ] to make contact with the ball and hit or kick it in the way mentioned :

She played the ball and ran forward.

He played a backhand volley.

8.

[ vn ] ( in chess ) to move a piece in chess , etc. :

She played her bishop.

9.

( in card games ) to put a card face upwards on the table, showing its value :

[ vn ]

to play your ace / a trump

[ v ]

He played out of turn!

MUSIC

10.

play (sth) (on sth) | play sth (to sb) | play sb sth to perform on a musical instrument; to perform music :

[ vn ]

to play the piano / violin / flute, etc.

He played a tune on his harmonica.

[ vn , vnn ]

Play that new piece to us.

Play us that new piece.

[ v ]

In the distance a band was playing.

11.

play sth (for sb) | play sb sth to make a tape, CD, etc. produce sound :

[ vn , vnn ]

Play their new CD for me, please.

Play me their new CD, please.

[ v ]

My favourite song was playing on the radio.

ACT / PERFORM

12.

[ vn ] to act in a play, film / movie, etc.; to act the role of sb :

The part of Elizabeth was played by Cate Blanchett.

He had always wanted to play Othello.

13.

to pretend to be sth that you are not :

[ v - adj ]

I decided it was safer to play dead .

[ v - n ]

She enjoys playing the wronged wife.

14.

[ v ] play (to sb) to be performed :

A production of 'Carmen' was playing to packed houses.

HAVE EFFECT

15.

[ vn ] play a part / role (in sth) to have an effect on sth :

The media played an important part in the last election.

SITUATION

16.

[ vn + adv. / prep. ] to deal with a situation in the way mentioned :

He played the situation carefully for maximum advantage.

OF LIGHT / A SMILE

17.

[ v + adv. / prep. ] to move or appear quickly and lightly, often changing direction or shape :

Sunlight played on the surface of the lake.

OF FOUNTAIN

18.

[ v ] when a fountain plays , it produces a steady stream of water

IDIOMS

Most idioms containing play are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example play the game is at game .  

- have money, time, etc. to play with

- what is sb playing at?

- play with yourself

PHRASAL VERBS

- play about / around (with sb/sth)

- play along (with sb/sth)

- play at sth / at doing sth

- play away (from home)

- play sth back (to sb)

- play sth down

- play A off against B

- play on

- play on / upon sth

- play sth out

- play yourself / itself out

- play up | play sb up

- play sth up

- play with sb/sth

- play with sth

■ noun

CHILDREN

1.

[ U ] things that people, especially children, do for pleasure rather than as work :

the happy sounds of children at play

the importance of learning through play

a play area

IN THEATRE

2.

[ C ] a piece of writing performed by actors in a theatre or on television or radio :

to put on (= perform) a play

a play by Shakespeare

a radio play

—see also morality play , mystery play , passion play

IN SPORT

3.

[ U ] the playing of a game :

Rain stopped play.

There was some excellent play in yesterday's match.

—see also fair play , foul play

4.

[ C ] ( NAmE ) an action or move in a game :

a defensive play

IN ROPE

5.

[ U ] the possibility of free and easy movement :

We need more play in the rope.

ACTIVITY / INFLUENCE

6.

[ U ] the activity or operation of sth; the influence of sth on sth else :

the free play of market forces

The financial crisis has brought new factors into play .

Personal feelings should not come into play when you are making business decisions.

OF LIGHT / A SMILE

7.

[ U ] ( literary ) a light, quick movement that keeps changing :

the play of sunlight on water

IDIOMS

- in / out of play

- make a play for sb/sth

- make great / much play of sth

- a play on words

—more at call verb , child , state noun , work noun

••

WORD ORIGIN

Old English pleg(i)an to exercise , plega brisk movement , related to Middle Dutch pleien leap for joy, dance.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.