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


He made them play down the main street and parade up to the tent.

He works when he is in London, and likes to play down here, and leave the work to you and Uncle Jimmy.

For in golf the laws of imitation are very subtle, and nothing is more common than to play down to another person's standard.

You will find there A fitter hand than mine, to reach her frets, And play down diddle to her.Petro.

Of late Cleena had let William Gladstone play down there in the soft dirt, while she was busy at other things.

Nobody has lived in it for years and years but I used to play down here when I was a little girl and had time to play.

It won't do, with your political record, to try to play down these stories of a gigantic criminal conspiracy.

The mere suggestion of the thing is sufficient to cause a cold shudder to play down the spinal column of John Bull.

It pointed up the very thing he was trying to play down, and raised a general laugh.


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.).


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