Synonyms and Antonyms of play

  1. 1 activity engaged in to amuse oneself it's such a delight to watch the children in their play Synonyms of play dalliance, frolic, frolicking, fun, fun and games, recreation, relaxation, rollicking, sport Words Related to play gamboling (or gambolling), romping; amusement, diversion, entertainment; hobby, hobbyhorse, pastime; delight, enjoyment, pleasance, pleasure; friskiness, playfulness, sportiveness, wantonness; devilment, devilry (or deviltry), hanky-panky, hob, impishness, jinks, knavery, mischief, mischievousness, rascality, roguishness, waggery; binge, fling, kick, lark, revel, rollick, spree; hilarity, merriment, merrymaking, revelry, whoopee; buffoonery, high jinks (also hijinks), horseplay, tomfoolery Near Antonyms of play drudgery, labor, work; duty, obligation, responsibility

  2. 2 a written work in which the story is told through speech and action that is intended to be acted out on stage we'll be putting on a school play using that stage Synonyms of play drama, dramatization Words Related to play interlude, playlet; comedy, comedy drama, docudrama, dramedy, melodrama, monodrama, musical, musical comedy, psychodrama, tragedy, tragicomedy; magnum opus, opus, work; adaptation

  3. 3 an attitude or manner not to be taken seriously I didn't mean to insult anyone, for it was all just play Synonyms of play game, jest, fun, sportWords Related to play facetiousness, flightiness, flippancy, frivolity, frivolousness, frothiness, levity, light-mindedness, sillinessNear Antonyms of play earnestness, gravity, seriousness, soberness, sobriety, solemnityAntonyms of play earnest

  4. 4 the act or practice of employing something for a particular purpose the host's sense of humor was obviously in play during the awards ceremony Synonyms of play application, employment, exercise, operation, use, usageWords Related to play exertion; reuseNear Antonyms of play disuse, nonuse

  5. 5 a clever often underhanded means to achieve an end the guy at the bar made an unusually creative play to get her phone number Synonyms of play artifice, device, dodge, fetch, flimflam, gambit, gimmick, jig, juggle, knack, trick, ploy, scheme, shenanigan, sleight, stratagem, wileWords Related to play bluff, end run, feint; cheating, chicanery, cozenage, craft, crookery, cunning, deception, dupery, duplicity, fakery, jugglery, legerdemain, skulduggery (or skullduggery), subterfuge, swindling, trickery; fraud, gaff, hoax, sham, swindle; blind, front, smoke screen

Synonym Discussion of play

fun, jest, sport, game, play mean action or speech that provides amusement or arouses laughter. 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



Synonyms and Antonyms of play

  1. 1 to engage in activity for amusement told her son that he needed some time to run and play in the yard after his hard work Synonyms of play dally, disport, frolic, recreate, rollick, skylark, sport, toy Words Related to play cavort, frisk, gambol, romp; dabble, trifle; amuse, divert, entertain; delight, please; dabble, fiddle (around), mess around, putter (around); bum (around), dawdle, goldbrick, hang, hang about [British], idle, loaf, lounge (around or about), relax, rest, screw around, slack (off); jest, joke, tease Near Antonyms of play drudge, labor, plod, plug (away), slave, strain, strive, struggle, sweat, toil, work

  2. 2 to present a portrayal or performance of played Hamlet in the campus production of the classic Synonyms of play do, impersonate, interpret, perform, act, portrayWords Related to play depict, dramatize, render, represent; act out, enact, pantomime, playact, role-play, take on; overact, overplay, underplay; ape, clown, ham, imitate, masquerade, mime, mimic, pose (as); star (in); coact, costar

  3. 3 to pretend to be (what one is not) in appearance or behavior stop playing the innocent, because I know that you were behind that prank Synonyms of play act, masquerade (as), personate, impersonate, pose (as)Words Related to play ape, copy, imitate, mime, mimic, mock, monkey, parody, travesty; perform, portray

  4. 4 to spend time in aimless activity just played around while we waited for the bus to arrive Synonyms of play doodle, fool around, fribble, goof (around), hang about [British], kick around, mess around, monkey (around), fiddle, potter (around), putter (around), trifleWords Related to play dally, dawdle, dillydally, hang (around or out), idle, loaf, loll, lounge; clown (around), horse around; diddle (with), tinkerNear Antonyms of play buckle (down), knuckle down, set (to), settle (down)

  5. 5 to deal with (something) usually skillfully or efficiently this is how we're going to play the situation Synonyms of play address, contend (with), cope (with), field, grapple (with), hack, manage, maneuver, manipulate, negotiate, handle, swing, take, treatWords Related to play engineer, finesse, jockey; bring off, carry off, carry out, get off, pull; command, direct, guide, steer; control, micromanage, regulate, run; react (to), respond (to)Near Antonyms of play botch, bungle, foozle, fumble, goof (up), louse up, mess (up), mishandle, muff, scamp

  6. 6 to risk (something) on the outcome of an uncertain event figuring that she had little to lose, she played her last few bucks on the state lottery Synonyms of play gamble, go, lay, bet, put, stake, wagerWords Related to play bid, offer; adventure, chance, hazard, speculate, venture; endanger, imperil, jeopardize

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


to provide what is needed to exist

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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