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 playacting (audio) \ noun

Examples of playact in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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 The Handmaid seemed to evolve from a symbol of advocacy for victims into a way of playacting victimhood. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "Margaret Atwood Expands the World of “The Handmaid’s Tale”," 5 Sep. 2019 After the superstar forward came under fire for his elaborate diving, faking and playacting during Brazil’s round of 16 victory over Mexico, Brazilians have closed ranks around one of their most cherished sons. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Brazil is desperately trying to coddle Neymar, whose talent outweighs dramatic antics," 5 July 2018 If the devil’s advocate playacts disagreement with you for the sake of strengthening your argument, the concern troll is his mirror image, a person who pretends to agree with you in order to undermine you. Nitsuh Abebe, New York Times, "Why Have We Soured on the ‘Devil’s Advocate’?," 3 Apr. 2018 In 2017, Trump’s previous pro-wrestling playacting dovetails neatly, and in gif form, with an attack on the Fourth Estate. Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic, "Conspiracy Theories Are for Underdogs," 22 Oct. 2017 In one of the most poignant scenes in the documentary, Brown and Houston are seen playacting scenes from What's Love Got to Do With It in their hotel room. Cady Lang, Time, "4 Things We Learned From the New Documentary About Whitney Houston," 18 Aug. 2017 Gianforte, a true coward, didn’t admit any wrongdoing until his victory speech, at which point the risks of playacting decency pertained to his criminal case— Brian Beutler, New Republic, "The Republicans Broke American Politics, and Media Elites Are Blind to It," 26 May 2017 Their childhood games were built around insurgency scenarios, playacting that served as rehearsal for the role that Mr. Hart would play years later in Pakistan. Greg Miller, Washington Post, "Howard Hart, legendary figure in CIA clandestine service, dies at 76," 18 May 2017

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.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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a period of high artistic development

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