out·​play | \ ˌau̇t-ˈplā \
outplayed; outplaying; outplays

Definition of outplay

transitive verb

: to play better than especially : to outdo in playing a game The Knicks took a 21-point lead in the first half, gave up 18 consecutive points in the third quarter, but outplayed the Kings down the stretch to win … The Times Union (Albany, New York)

Examples of outplay in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Tua Tagovailoa threw for four touchdowns on 318 yards, outplaying the quarterback who beat him for the Heisman Trophy, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Alabama Beats Oklahoma, Will Face Clemson for College Football National Title," 30 Dec. 2018 There are instances where sides can outplay their ability (think Greece 2004) but in general the major tournaments have top quality winners. SI.com, "Curb Your Enthusiasm: What to Expect From England at This Summer's World Cup," 2 June 2018 Kolzig then went toe to toe with the Buffalo Sabres’ Dominik Hasek in the 1998 Eastern Conference finals, outplaying the future Hall of Famer as the Caps prevailed in six games to reach the Stanley Cup finals for the only time in franchise history. Matt Rybaltowski, New York Times, "A Source of Fleury’s Success in Las Vegas? His New Goaltending Coach," 11 May 2018 Instead the Turks outplayed the Saudis and dripped out one damaging revelation after another as the Saudi public-relations machine struggled to contain the fallout. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "2018’s Biggest Loser Was the Liberal International Order," 30 Dec. 2018 Two weeks later, the 20-year-old is, indeed, a major champion, thoroughly outplaying and beating her idol, Serena Williams, while keeping her composure during as chaotic a Grand Slam final as anyone can recall. Howard Fendrich, The Seattle Times, "From Osaka to umpires, what we learned during wild US Open," 10 Sep. 2018 But Kendall, a more prototypical pocket-passer, came on during spring practices, outplaying Murray during the Sooners’ spring game and setting the stage for continued competition into the summer. George Schroeder, USA TODAY, "Oklahoma has talent, confidence, but the Sooners face life without Baker Mayfield," 19 Apr. 2018 Things went downhill for Juan Carlos Osorio’s side from there, however, with the team outplayed by Sweden, and then outclassed by the talented and cohesive Brazilians. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Mexico heartbroken again with World Cup round of 16 loss against Brazil," 2 July 2018 But Portland was simply outplayed by North Carolina Wednesday. Jamie Goldberg, OregonLive.com, "Portland Thorns fall 4-1 in disappointing loss to North Carolina Courage," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'outplay.' 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 outplay

1702, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for outplay

Last Updated

4 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for outplay

The first known use of outplay was in 1702

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English Language Learners Definition of outplay

: to play better than (a person or team)

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a servile follower or underling

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