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


The player—who may be left on the ground long after all games have been played out.

The fairy business was played out, and he felt that he must begin again.

I've thought for a good while the game was played out for body and soul.

Then Bobby liked the panda, and the three of us played out in the barn all day.

When night fell I was played out, and told the crew they must let her sink.

The days of the old-time denominationalism are about played out.

You'll never do any good on this part of the coast—it's played out, and there's no population.

To many it seems that the rôle of the individual is played out.

He felt as if a drama had been played out there and the dénouement had been happy.

This job's all played out, so I think I'll get me a good job on Titan.


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.