play at

phrasal verb

Definition of play at 

1 : to do (something) in a way that is not serious They were only playing at trying to fix the problem.

2 chiefly British : to play by pretending to be (someone or something) She liked to play at doctors and nurses as a child. often used in the phrase play at being (something) boys playing at being soldiers

3 British used to say in an annoyed way that one does not know the reason for someone's behavior What is he playing at?

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one that holds something together

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