play out

played out; playing out; plays out

Definition of play out

transitive verb

1a : to perform to the end play out a role
b : use up, finish
2 : unreel, unfold played out a length of line— Gordon Webber

intransitive verb

1 : to become spent or exhausted
2 : develop, unfold see how things play out

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Synonyms & Antonyms for play out


absorb, burn, consume, deplete, devour, drain, draw down, exhaust, expend, spend, use up


renew, replace

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Examples of play out in a Sentence

we've finally played out the leftovers from that huge holiday meal

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s very little of the unpredictability of what to expect from opponents playing out the string — save for a game at cellar-dwelling Ottawa — and plenty of meaningful games to keep the Lightning from getting complacent. Stephen Whyno, The Seattle Times, "Schedule helps Lightning keep focus after Presidents’ Trophy," 24 Mar. 2019 The home is a space for real lives, after all, not the stage for an experiential drama playing out for all to see. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Please Stop With the Open Floor Plans," 28 Feb. 2019 Some of the Khloe-Tristan drama played out on Keeping Up with the Kardashians—go here to read some of Khloe's choice words at the time. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "All the Hints That Khloe Kardashian Was Blindsided by the Jordyn Woods Cheating Scandal," 20 Feb. 2019 If Congress doesn’t act to grant them permanent status, the world will witness more inhumanity playing out on U.S. soil. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "Another separation crisis looms – this time for some 273,000 American children," 12 July 2018 While the teachers’ strikes continue to force change, there are separate labor struggles playing out in other areas of the school system that command attention. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Education Workers on Campuses Around the Country Are Demanding Better Labor Conditions," 10 Jan. 2019 The presidential sniping foreshadowed a fight that is likely to increasingly play out as both presidents rally their parties. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Obama returns to campaign trail with fiery speech; Trump counters, 'I fell asleep'," 2 Oct. 2018 What is most striking is that the person who wins the game played out in this luminous book is not the straightforward Mr. Cercas but the devious Mr. Marco. Mario Vargas Llosa, WSJ, "‘The Impostor’ Review: The Man Who Wasn’t There," 23 Aug. 2018 Almost 1 million soccer fans traveled to Russia to see the games play out in 11 cities across the country, and social media has been flooded with scenes of massive street parties in Moscow and beyond. Sabra Ayres,, "World Cup gives Russia a global makeover, but how long will that last?," 10 July 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for play out

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for play out

The first known use of play out was in 1598

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More from Merriam-Webster on play out

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with play out

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for play out

Comments on play out

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


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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