play out

played out; playing out; plays out

Definition of play out

transitive verb

1a : to perform to the end play out a role
b : use up, finish
2 : unreel, unfold played out a length of line— Gordon Webber

intransitive verb

1 : to become spent or exhausted
2 : develop, unfold see how things play out

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Synonyms & Antonyms for play out


absorb, burn, consume, deplete, devour, drain, draw down, exhaust, expend, spend, use up


renew, replace

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Examples of play out in a Sentence

we've finally played out the leftovers from that huge holiday meal

Recent Examples on the Web

My mind went around and around in circles playing out these terrifying scenarios. Rebecca Chamaa, Glamour, "This Is What It’s Like to Live With Paranoid Schizophrenia," 16 Sep. 2019 The senior defensive end made a highlight-reel play out of a fairly routine quarterback hurry during the Warriors’ 31-24 double-overtime road loss to Rolling Meadows on Friday night. Steve Reaven,, "Colin Ward gives Deerfield a powerful presence on the defensive line," 15 Sep. 2019 How will Warren's steady rise in the polls play out on the debate stage with Biden? Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: What to look for in Thursday's Democratic debate," 11 Sep. 2019 Stories appear on the pages (written in blood, naturally) and then play out in the real world. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," 23 Aug. 2019 The main point is that Brexit is a signal that neoliberalism is played out as a strategy of accumulation. Ashley Smith, Harper's magazine, "Left of Europe," 16 Sep. 2019 House Bill 6: Ohioans are watching an unprecedented political fight play out over an effort to repeal a bailout of the state’s two nuclear plants. Cliff Pinckard,, "Mayor Frank Jackson denies interfering in grandson’s criminal cases: The Wake Up for Friday, Sept. 13, 2019," 13 Sep. 2019 Once on the bus, visitors watch a workplace scenario play out through a view finder and press a clicker to mark possible instances of unconscious bias. Steven Goode,, "Cigna working to help employees identify unconscious bias," 13 Sep. 2019 Dodd and Reagan’s relationship is currently playing out on this season of RHOC. Dave Quinn,, "RHOC's Kelly Dodd and Rick Leventhal Aren’t Engaged — But She's Already Picked Out a Wedding Date," 11 Sep. 2019

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

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for play out

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for play out

The first known use of play out was in 1598

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More from Merriam-Webster on play out

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with play out

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for play out

Comments on play out

What made you want to look up play out? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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