Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “play”

play

verb (GAME)    /pleɪ/
A1 [I or T] to take part in a game or other organized activity: Do you want to play cards/football (with us)? Irene won't be able to play in the match on Saturday. Which team do you play for? Luke plays centre-forward (= plays in that position within the team).Sports and games generally B1 [T] to compete against a person or team in a game: Who are Aston Villa playing next week?Competing in sportCompeting and contending (non-sporting) [T] to hit or kick a ball in a game: He played the ball back to the goalkeeper. A good snooker player takes time deciding which shot to play.General terms used in ball sports [T] to choose a card, in a card game, from the ones you are holding and put it down on the table: She played the ace of spades.Actions involved in playing cards
(Definition of play verb (GAME) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of play

Definitions of “play” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

beneficiary

a person or group who receives money, advantages, etc. as a result of something else

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More