Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “play”

play

verb
 
 
/pleɪ/
SPORTS/GAMES [I, T] A1 to take part in a sport or game: You play tennis, don't you Sam? We often used to play cards. I used to play netball for my school. I'm playing Tony (= playing against Tony) at squash tonight. Two of the team weren't playing because they were injured. Barcelona are playing against Real Madrid tonight.Competing in sportCompeting and contending (non-sporting)General terms used in ball sportsActions involved in playing cards
CHILDREN [I, T] A1 If children play, they enjoy themselves with toys and games: She likes playing with her dolls. Emma won't play with me.Celebrating and entertainingChildren's games
MUSIC [I, T] A2 to make music with a musical instrument: Tim was playing the piano.Playing musicSinging in general
RECORD/RADIO [I, T] A2 If a radio, record, etc plays, it produces sounds, or if you play a radio, record, etc you make it produce sounds: A radio was playing in the background. He plays his records late into the night.Playing musicSinging in generalRecording sounds and images
ACTING [T] B1 to be a character in a film or play: Morgan played the father in the film version.Acting, rehearsing and performing
play a joke/trick on sb B2 to deceive someone as a joke: I played a trick on her and pretended we'd eaten all the food. → See also play it by ear, play games, play (it) safe, play for time, play truantBehaving in a silly way
(Definition of play verb from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “play” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

long time no see

said when you meet someone who you haven't seen for a long period of time

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More