Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Their work seemed like play, while the play around them seemed like work.

He saw them fish at the rapids and feast and play around the fire.

Put me in a thunder-storm an' let the lightnin' play around me, an' I'm at home.

"Oh, let him play around with his suicide blonde," Avis said furiously.

Goodhue called the signal for a play around the left tackle.

It was just a matter of the figgers which it's your job to play around with.

I got to learn to play around and yet not make a fool of myself.

"I'll play around Europe for awhile," she whimsically decided.

Every night, every single night, he must find some countryman and play around a little bit before going to bed.

On those days, Nest warned the little children who loved to come and play around her, that they must not visit the house.


Old English plegan, plegian "move rapidly, occupy or busy oneself, exercise; frolic; make sport of, mock; perform music," from West Germanic *plegan "occupy oneself about" (cf. Old Saxon plegan "vouch for, take charge of," Old Frisian plega "tend to," Middle Dutch pleyen "to rejoice, be glad," German pflegen "take care of, cultivate"), from PIE root *dlegh- "to engage oneself," forming words in Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, and possibly Latin.

Meaning "to take part in a game" is from c.1200. Opposed to work (v.) since late 14c. Related: Played; playing. To play up "emphasize" is from 1909; to play down "minimize" is from 1930; to play along "cooperate" is from 1929. To play with oneself "masturbate" is from 1896; play for keeps is from 1861, originally of marbles or other children's games with tokens. To play second fiddle in the figurative sense is from 1809 ("Gil Blas"). To play into the hands (of someone) is from 1705. To play the _______ card is attested from 1886; to play fair is from mid-15c. To play (something) safe is from 1911; to play favorites is attested from 1902. For play the field see field (n.).



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Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.