by·play | \-ˌplā \

Definition of byplay 

: action engaged in on the side while the main action proceeds (as during a dramatic production)

Examples of byplay in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Their amusing byplay is comforting, which translates to some degree as predictable, but familiarity is part of the appeal. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Why familiar friends make TV's remake obsession less annoying," 24 Apr. 2018 Because the formal byplay of the schema is of more interest to the creators than creating distinctive characters, the lovers never quite take on lives of their own, and Harder’s libretto has a generic quality. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "CD Review: Nathaniel Stookey, ‘Zipperz’," 7 Mar. 2018 The byplay between the two during the game in their limited head-to-head action Friday night was mostly benign. Ira Winderman,, "Twitter beef! Hassan Whiteside, Joel Embiid go at it after exhibition," 14 Oct. 2017 But within the class, the noisy action — all shade and byplay — is too often superficial. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Charm,’ Challenges Emily Post Never Dreamed Of," 18 Sep. 2017 There are hours of colorful byplay by intelligent analysts. David Bauder, The Seattle Times, "Politics fuels cable news surge, not network evening news," 5 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'byplay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of byplay

1812, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near byplay






by prescription


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Time Traveler for byplay

The first known use of byplay was in 1812

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What made you want to look up byplay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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