play·​er | \ˈplā-ər \

Definition of player 

: one that plays: such as

a : a person who plays a game

b : musician

c : actor

d : a device that reproduces recorded material (such as video images or music) from a usually specified medium a CD player

e : one actively involved especially in a competitive field or process : participant a key player in politics

f or less commonly playa, US slang : a person and especially a man who has many lovers Handsome and a well-paid professional, Keith, 35, chose to be a player, juggling a series of relatively brief and sometimes over-lapping intimate relationships with women.— Michel Marriott This album has a lot of sexual references. It's almost like Bobby's … a playa.— Elliott Wilson

Note: The variant playa is more common in transcribed speech.

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Examples of player in a Sentence

She's one of the team's best players. The band's lead guitar player hurt his hand and couldn't play. Piano players are called pianists.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Milwaukee Bucks forward has been maybe the best player in basketball this season. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The NBA’s Big Greek Dunking Machine," 6 Dec. 2018 One need only take a glimpse at the brand’s Instagram feed of vintage ski snaps to understand that the sport’s rich history is a key player in Stern’s designs. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Introducing Matek, a New Line of Cutting-Edge Ski Intimates," 4 Dec. 2018 Yellen proved to be a steady hand at the Fed, is more qualified than Powell, and was a key player in steering the US economy through recovery after the recession. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Trump’s beef with the Fed, explained," 29 Nov. 2018 France is a major player in the nuclear industry: in 2012, about 75 percent of its electricity came from nuclear reactors. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "France to retire 14 nuclear reactors while Japan restarts 5 of its reactors," 29 Nov. 2018 First in episode 2, when Sabrina and the Weird Sisters are leading a group of football players into the mines, and again in episode 10 when Harvey and Sabrina are discussing Tommy Kinkle's fate. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "Did You Miss Jughead's Appearance In 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?'," 30 Oct. 2018 According to Quincy Jones, Allen was also an excellent guitar player. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dead at 65," 15 Oct. 2018 China is the only other major player in human space flight and Russia has explored joint missions with its powerful neighbor for a number of years. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Is Riled Up About Being Left Behind in Space," 10 Oct. 2018 Financing for home slips has been institutionalized by Wall Street players, and with much of America’s housing stock now having aged considerably, the need for renovation is attracting more startups into the space. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "New home flipping platform sells to the first bidder, not the highest," 19 Sep. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for player

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for player

The first known use of player was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for player



English Language Learners Definition of player

: a person who plays a sport or game

: a person who performs music usually on a particular instrument

: a machine that causes recorded sounds or pictures to be heard or seen


play·​er | \ˈplā-ər \

Kids Definition of player

1 : a person who participates in a game

2 : a person who produces sound on a musical instrument

3 : a device that reproduces sounds or video images that have been recorded (as on magnetic tape or a hard drive)

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More from Merriam-Webster on player

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with player

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for player

Spanish Central: Translation of player

Nglish: Translation of player for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of player for Arabic Speakers

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