14 English Phrasal Verbs With 'PLAY'

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14 phrasal verbs with 'PLAY'

Play about

  1. Be silly
    (Inseparable | British English)
    » Example: Please stop PLAYING ABOUT.
  2. Be sexually promiscuous or unfaithful
    (Inseparable | British English)
    » Example: She PLAYED ABOUT before she got married.

Play along

  1. Pretend to agree or accept something in order to keep someone happy or to get more information
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: I disagreed with the idea but I had to PLAY ALONG because everyone else liked it.

Play around

  1. Be silly
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: The children were PLAYING AROUND and being annoying.
  2. Be sexually promiscuous or unfaithful
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: I PLAYED AROUND a lot at college.

Play at

  1. Pretend to be something
    (Inseparable | International English)
    » Example: He just PLAYS AT being a lawyer- he never wins a case.

Play away

  1. Be sexually unfaithful when away from home
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: He travels abroad a lot and his wife thinks he PLAYS AWAY.

Play back

  1. Listen to or watch something you've recorded
    (Separable [optional] | International English)
    » Example: We PLAYED the recording BACK to see if it was OK.

Play down

  1. Try to make something seem less important
    (Separable [optional] | International English)
    » Example: The Government has tried to PLAY DOWN the importance of the minister's resignation.

Play off

  1. Play a game to decide who the winner is
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: As both teams had the same points, they PLAYED OFF to decide the winner.
  2. Make people compete against each other so that you benefit
    (Separable [obligatory] | International English)
    » Example: He PLAYED them OFF against each other to get the best deal.

Play on

  1. Continue playing a sport though there might be a reason to stop
    (Intransitive | British English)
    » Example: It looked like a foul, but the referee told them to PLAY ON.
  2. Continue playing music
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: The band PLAYED ON for another hour.
  3. Exploit a weakness
    (Inseparable | International English)
    » Example: They are just PLAYING ON our fears to get us to do what they want.
  4. Pun
    (Inseparable | International English)
    » Example: The advert PLAYS ON the slogan

Play out

  1. Progress, often till it finishes
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: Let's see how things PLAY OUT.
  2. Pretend that something is real and reduce its effect
    (Separable [optional] | International English)
    » Example: Computer games allow people to PLAY OUT their violent urges.
  3. Play something to the end
    (Separable [optional] | International English)
    » Example: Rain stopped them PLAYING the game OUT.
  4. Unwind (e.g., fishing line)
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: When he hooked the swordfish, his line rapidly PLAYED OUT.

Play up

  1. Behave badly
    (Intransitive | International English)
    » Example: The children PLAYED UP all evening and drove the babysitter mad.

Play up to

  1. Flatter someone
    (Intransitive | American English)
    » Example: I'm PLAYING UP TO my boss at the moment because I want the promotion.
  2. Behave in a way expected
    (Inseparable | International English)
    » Example: He's got a reputation for being trouble and PLAYS UP TO it.

Play upon

  1. Exploit a weakness
    (Inseparable | International English)
    » Example: They are PLAYING UPON people's concerns to get their way.

Play with

  1. Touch and move something to occupy your hands
    (Inseparable | International English)
    » Example: He can't stop PLAYING WITH his beard.
  2. Not eat much of a meal
    (Inseparable | International English)
    » Example: I wasn't hungry, so I just PLAYED WITH the food.
  3. Consider something, but not seriously
    (Inseparable | International English)
    » Example: We PLAYED WITH the idea, but decided against it.

Take our Exercise on 'PLAY'

Quiz for Verb: 'To PLAY'

Choose the correct definition for each phrasal verb...

'Play upon' means...

'Play with' means...

'Play along' means...

'Play up' means...

'Play with' means...

'Play with' means...

'Play on' means...

'Play up to' means...

'Play out' means...

'Play off' means...

 

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