play·​act | \ ˈplā-ˌakt How to pronounce playact (audio) \
playacted; playacting; playacts

Definition of playact

intransitive verb

1a : to take part in theatrical performances especially as a professional
b : to make believe
2 : to engage in theatrical or insincere behavior

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Other Words from playact

playacting \ ˈplā-​ˌak-​tiŋ How to pronounce playact (audio) \ noun

Examples of playact in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The world had first required her to playact as a man. Will Stephenson, Harper's Magazine, "The Well-Tempered Synthesizer," 15 Sep. 2020 Yona has it better than the locals who have agreed to playact, and likely die, in Mui’s fake new disaster. Madeline Leung Coleman, The Atlantic, "This Is What Happens When Society ‘Has to Function’," 13 Aug. 2020 In a twist, The Sims is now a way to playact not just an alternate life, but any life at all. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "A Dating Show Fit for a Pandemic," 19 Apr. 2020 One of the funniest answers to this question comes from the comedian Conner O’Malley, who has built a career playacting the way consumerism warps our spirits. Sam Anderson, New York Times, "Hudson Yards Is Coming for Your Soul," 6 Feb. 2020 Cloud is almost childlike, a boy playacting at being a warrior and not always nailing the part. Julie Muncy, Wired, "Final Fantasy VII Remake Is a Lot of Filler, Mostly Killer," 10 Apr. 2020 Awkwafina contains multitudes, and Nora From Queens gets a kick out of putting the main character, already grappling with her place in the world, in situations that give her the opportunity to playact. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens': TV Review," 9 Jan. 2020 To watch a supporter of the previous president — a president who abused his executive power in unprecedented ways — playacting as a Madisonian purist was intolerable. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Presidential Misconduct: Some Historical Perspective," 5 Dec. 2019 David Moyes definitely wasn't bitter about Luis Suarez's diving celebration for Liverpool during a Merseyside derby in 2012, the striker responding to accusations of playacting from the Everton boss., "8 of the Most Controversial Celebrations in Football History," 12 Sep. 2019

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

1856, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for playact

back-formation from playacting

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Time Traveler for playact

Time Traveler

The first known use of playact was in 1856

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Cite this Entry

“Playact.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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