Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “play”

play

verb (ACT)    /pleɪ/
B1 [I or T] to perform an entertainment or a particular character in a play, film, or other entertainment: In the film version, Branagh played the hero. Scottish Opera played to full houses every night. I didn't realize that 'Macbeth' was playing (= being performed) at the Guildhall.Acting, rehearsing and performing [T] to behave or pretend in a particular way, especially in order to produce a particular effect or result: to play dead/dumb Would you mind playing host (= entertaining the guests)?Behaving, interacting and behaviour play a joke/trick B2 to deceive someone to make them laugh or in order to get an advantage over them: She loves playing practical jokes on her friends.Cheating and trickingPlotting and trapping play a part B2 to help to achieve something: My thanks to everyone who has played a part in saving the hospital.Helping and co-operating
(Definition of play verb (ACT) 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

pump iron

to lift heavy weights for exercise

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