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noun (1)

pla·​ya ˈplī-ə How to pronounce playa (audio)
: the flat-floored bottom of an undrained desert basin that becomes at times a shallow lake


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noun (2)

variant spelling of player sense f

Examples of playa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Get your fill fun at theme camps, but plan several long excursions to visit the hundreds of day and night art installations spread across the open playa. Ed Fletcher, Sacramento Bee, 25 Jan. 2024 Lots of bathers under umbrellas at the 'playa', the city's sandy beach, to find refreshment on a scorching hot Sunday with a maximum alert level for high temperatures on July 16, 2023 in Catania, Italy. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 30 Jan. 2024 Boots – Flip flops are great for the beach but not the playa. Ed Fletcher, Sacramento Bee, 25 Jan. 2024 Doused by days of rain, thousands of people stuck on the muddy playa at the Burning Man festival began to trickle out of the remote area in northwest Nevada on Monday. Ben Poston, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2023 Many camps were partially or fully dissembled by the time the man burned Monday night, when the playa had dried enough so that all the art cars were able to surround the burn site, as is tradition. Katie Bain, Billboard, 8 Sep. 2023 Organizers temporarily closed Burning Man’s gates a few days before the event’s official start date of Aug. 27 to allow the playa to dry from Hurricane Hilary’s rains. Samantha Chery, Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2023 Other attendees did the same, wondering how long they might be stuck on the lake bed also known as the playa. Greg Norman, Fox News, 21 Dec. 2023 Then, more than two months’ worth of rain fell in one day and the playa dust turned to impassably sticky mud. Sinna Nasseri, Bon Appétit, 8 Sep. 2023

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Spanish, literally, beach, from Late Latin plagia — more at plage

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of playa was in 1854

Dictionary Entries Near playa

Cite this Entry

“Playa.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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