Definition for PLAY

PLAY, n.

  1. Any exercise or series of actions intended for pleasure, amusement or diversion, as at cricket or quoit, or at blind man's buff.
  2. Amusement; sport; frolick; gambols. – Spenser. Two gentle fawns at play. – Milton.
  3. Game; gaming; practice of contending for victory, for amusement or for a prize, as at dice, cards or billiards.
  4. Practice in any contest; as, sword-play. He was resolved not to speak distinctly, knowing his best play to be in the dark. – Tillotson. John naturally loved rough play. – Arbuthnot.
  5. Action; use: employment; office. But justifies the next who comes in play. – Dryden.
  6. Practice; action; manner of acting in contest or negotiation; as, fair play; foul play.
  7. 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. – Dryden.
  8. Representation or exhibition of a comedy or tragedy; as, to be at the play. He attends every play.
  9. Performance on an instrument of music.
  10. Motion; movement, regular or irregular; as, the play of a wheel or piston.
  11. State of agitation or discussion. Many have been sav'd, and many may, / Who never heard this question brought in play. – Dryden.
  12. Room for motion. The joints are let exactly into one another, that they have no play between them. – Moxon.
  13. Liberty of acting; room for enlargement or display; scope; as, to give full play to mirth. Let the genius have free play.

Return to page 117 of the letter “P”.