in·​ter·​play | \ˈin-tər-ˌplā \

Definition of interplay 

: interaction the interplay of opposing forces

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from interplay

interplay \ ˌin-​tər-​ˈplā , ˈin-​tər-​ˌplā \ intransitive verb

Examples of interplay in a Sentence

the interplay between the old and the new enjoys the interplay of three very different flavors

Recent Examples on the Web

Chapra led a team including scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in one of the most comprehensive studies of the interplay between global warming and the blooms, published in 2017. Tom James,, "Warming drives spread of toxic algae in U.S., researchers say," 22 June 2018 Both elements came across vividly in music that bustles with sliding brass, sputtering rhythms and an episode of instrumental interplay. New York Times, "Review: The Philharmonic’s Women Can Wear Pants in the Park," 14 June 2018 Historical Thinking Analyze the interplay of economic, political, social, geographical, historical, cultural, linguistic and anthropological impacts on the development of biblical texts. Supriya Sridhar, The Courier-Journal, "State ed board approves Bible literacy standards for public schools," 6 June 2018 That anecdote becomes a part of the Getting Word archive, as does their full conversation, with interplays between the researchers and the subjects. Andrew M. Davenport, Smithsonian, "Putting Enslaved Families’ Stories Back in the Monticello Narrative," 14 June 2018 The devil is in the details, and the complex interplay of restraint and intensity is offset by sparse piano and brass. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "BTS' 50 Best Songs: Critics' Picks," 12 June 2018 These 10 stories satisfy on many levels — the masterful craft, the emotional precision, the agile interplay between the past and present. S. Kirk Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Last Stories,’ by William Trevor," 24 May 2018 The lemon acts like a curtain, so the first impression is of tartness before the palate opens up to reveal the interplay of the other ingredients. Michael Bauer,, "Sorrel off to a stellar start in Pacific Heights," 6 July 2018 The interplay between Bongwan and Areum often generates a musical sense of counterpoint, especially when Hong presents them both in the same shot. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Hong Sang-soo and Kim Min-hee's real-life affair yields a trio of films about infidelity," 12 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of interplay

1862, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about interplay

Statistics for interplay

Last Updated

27 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interplay

The first known use of interplay was in 1862

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for interplay



English Language Learners Definition of interplay

: the ways in which two or more things, groups, etc., affect each other when they happen or exist together

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on interplay

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


noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!