fun usually implies laughter or gaiety but may imply merely a lack of serious or ulterior purpose.
played cards just for fun
jest implies lack of earnestness and may suggest a hoaxing or teasing.
hurt by remarks said only in jest
sport applies especially to the arousing of laughter against someone.
teasing begun in sport led to anger
game is close to sport, and often stresses mischievous or malicious fun.
made game of their poor relations
play stresses the opposition to earnest without implying any malice or mischief.
pretended to strangle his brother in play
Examples of play in a Sentence
The play is based on a real-life event.
He wrote, directed, and starred in the play.
His fifth grade class is putting on a play about the first Thanksgiving.
I've gone to all of my daughter's school plays.
The book discusses the role of play in a child's development.
As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Please, no talking during play.
Rain held up play for an hour.
The chess match finally ended after three hours of play.
The two golfers were tied at the start of play yesterday. Verb
The children were playing in the yard.
Can Sara come out and play?
He played by himself in his room.
Did you play any sports in high school?
No one dares to play chess with him.
The children were playing hide-and-seek.
I have a chess set. Do you want to play?
It's your turn to play.
She hurt her wrist but decided to continue playing.
He played in every major tournament this year. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
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The team showed that love by scoring a touchdown on the first play after the game resumed.—John Baldoni, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 However, the Bulldogs were flagged for a dead ball false start, nullifying the play and allowing Coach Zach Arnett to send his punt team out.—Tom Murphy, arkansasonline.com, 28 Nov. 2023 James’s post also included some photos taken while at an LA Lakers game, a close-up shot of a cut of steak, and a sign for Babbitt, the new play Matthew Broderick is currently starring in.—Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 28 Nov. 2023 Another defender sniffed out the play from the weak side.—Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Nov. 2023 On the third play of the game, the speedy Atwell got behind the defense and caught a 42-yard pass from Stafford.—Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2023 During the third quarter, Kelce, 34, pushed Raiders defensive back Amik Robertson and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery after a chippy play that had Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice down on the ground for a moment.—Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 27 Nov. 2023 Lego fans can save half off on Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Child kit and a large box of Lego bricks that’s 46% off, while those with kids who love pretend play can snag a Melissa & Doug Metal Toy Shopping Cart for 51% off.—Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 27 Nov. 2023 Staley’s defense yielded 41 points and 533 total yards to Detroit on Sunday, the Lions averaging 8.3 yards per play.—Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023
The actor Albert Dieudonné, who played Bonaparte in Abel Gance’s legendary five-and-a-half-hour silent version, was buried in his Napoleonic costume.—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2023 Controversy over Henry Kissinger, the influential former secretary of state who played a pivotal role in the Vietnam War and the U.S. policy of detente during the Cold War, continued Wednesday following news of his death at age 100.—Phil Helsel, NBC News, 30 Nov. 2023 Two of his lead actors — Sofia Boutella, who plays reluctant rebel leader Kora, and Ed Skrein, starring as Noble, a cruel admiral in the evil empire — are standing on a platform, whacking each other with light sticks.—Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Nov. 2023 The collaboration is about celebrating the important role that pollinators play in ensuring biodiversity, but also to admire the beauty and mystery of the pollination act itself.—Grace Banks, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 There will be mirrors, and doubling, and tears, because hiring Julianne Moore to play a woman on the verge and not having this extraordinary screen crier turn on the waterworks is practically akin to a war crime.—David Fear, Rolling Stone, 29 Nov. 2023 Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, the brilliant grouch in question.—Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2023 Genetics, sun exposure, and skin tone play varying roles in individual risk factors for each.—Beth Sobol, Allure, 29 Nov. 2023 Keaton plays John Knox, a hit man whose health is declining even as he is offered a chance to achieve redemption by saving his estranged son’s life.—Brent Lang, Variety, 29 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'play.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Old English plega; akin to Old English plegan to play, Middle Dutch pleyen
First Known Use
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a