play upon

phrasal verb

played upon; playing upon; plays upon
: to make people do what one wants by using (their emotions, fears, concerns, etc.) in an unfair way
Politicians often win votes by playing upon people's emotions.

Examples of play upon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During the show, a host — it once was Chris Hardwick — takes a group of three comedians through a rapid-fire series of games that play upon many of the trending digital conversations of the day. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 3 Nov. 2023 Apparently, the world of UFO experts can be a bitter one, and Nick Pope—who plays upon his image as the ‘Real Fox Mulder’ with numerous media appearances—has attracted criticism. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 19 Sep. 2023 That approach has been honed and amplified under Xi Jinping, China’s leader, who has played upon nationalist sentiments and fears of a dangerous world beyond China’s borders to justify his personal power grab. Lillian Yang, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2023 The oakmoss, patchouli, and sandalwood balance out the rose aroma and citrusy smell from the bergamot, creating a classic chypre fragrance that plays upon the dichotomy of cool and warm notes. ELLE, 25 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'play upon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near play upon

Cite this Entry

“Play upon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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