power play


Definition of power play 

1 : a military, diplomatic, political, or administrative maneuver in which power is brought to bear

2a : a concentrated attack in football in which the ballcarrier is preceded by a mass of blockers

b : a situation in ice hockey in which one team temporarily has more players on the ice than the other team because of a penalty

Examples of power play in a Sentence

They scored their first goal on a power play. He made a power play to seize control of the company.

Recent Examples on the Web

Locking-in manufacturers While Google is out to control the open source codebase as much as possible, owning the consumer-facing app side of the equation isn't the company's only power play. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary," 21 July 2018 Number of consecutive goalless power plays before Jamie McGinn’s empty-netter on the man-advantage with 13.2 seconds remaining. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "The Next Day Look: Florida Panthers 4, Arizona Coyotes 2," 25 Mar. 2018 The result of their power plays is a parallel reality to what’s happening on the court. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The NBA Is Turning Into European Soccer," 2 Oct. 2018 His team got that next goal when P.K. Subban scored on the power play at 15:54. Jace Evans, USA TODAY, "Pekka Rinne pulled by Predators early in Game 7 loss after bad goals allowed to Jets," 10 May 2018 Brody Sutter got Manitoba on the board with an even-handed goal at 4:38 of the first, then leading scorer Mason Appleton scored his 22nd goal on a power play at 16:47 of the first. Plain Dealer Sports, cleveland.com, "Manitoba Moose shut out Cleveland Monsters, 4-0," 12 Apr. 2018 But Andrew Oglevie scored on a power play at 2:41 and Evans scored his first goal during a 4-on-4 at 6:20 to tie the game. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan hockey slips in Frozen Four: How it all went wrong at the end," 6 Apr. 2018 Fitzgerald made it a 3-0 Providence advantage on the game's first power play at 2:58. Staff Report, courant.com, "Providence Bruins 6, Hartford Wolf Pack 3," 6 Apr. 2018 Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored on a power play at the 9:30 mark to put Spokane back in front, but the Winterhawks would stun their opponent with back-to-back goals to snatch a win on the road and walk away winners. Dylan Bumbarger, OregonLive.com, "6:26 left...," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'power play.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of power play

1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about power play

Share power play

Statistics for power play

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for power play

The first known use of power play was in 1947

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for power play

power play


English Language Learners Definition of power play

ice hockey : a situation in which one team has more players on the ice than the other team for a period of time because of a penalty

: an attempt by a person, group, or organization to use power in a forceful and direct way to get or do something

More from Merriam-Webster on power play

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with power play

Comments on power play

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


a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!