have money/time, etc. to play with › to have money, time, etc. available to use: Swelling tax receipts have given the government more money to play with over the last two years.
play by the rules › to obey the rules of a particular system: Workers should not be relegated to poverty if they work hard and play by the rules.
play by your own rules › to do things in the way that you want, rather than obeying the rules of a particular system: Large multinational corporations often play by their own rules.
play catch up › to try to be as successful as other people, companies, etc.: The firm has adapted quickly to changes in the global market, leaving its rivals to play catch up.
play for high stakes › to take big risks in order to achieve something that you really want: The Prime Minister is playing for high stakes, at the risk of alienating public opinion.
play (it) safe › to decide not to take risks: The federal government often plays it safe by funding research that is likely to succeed but may have only a slight impact. The biggest companies usually play safe and hire top legal firms from London or New York.
play the (money/stock) market › FINANCE to trade shares, bonds, etc., especially in order to make money quickly, rather than to invest over a longer period: Spread betting companies offer an opportunity for private individuals to play the stock market.
play a key/major/important role/part (in sth) (also have a key/major/important role/part to play (in sth)) › to have a lot of power or influence in a particular situation: His financial expertise played a major role in London City airport's development. IT had a key part to play in modernizing the organization.
play the system › to use a set of rules or laws in order to get an advantage for yourself, in a way that may not be fair: If you know how to play the system, there are various legal loopholes to be exploited.
play to your strengths › to do things that you know you are good at: In business, you sometimes have to follow your instincts and play to your strengths. → See also plug-and-play™ adjective, play sth back, play sth down, play out, play sth up