horse·​play ˈhȯrs-ˌplā How to pronounce horseplay (audio)
: rough or boisterous play

Examples of horseplay in a Sentence

The lamp got broken when the kids were engaging in a little horseplay. when he saw us spraying each other with the hose instead of washing the car, Dad yelled, “Cut out the horseplay!”
Recent Examples on the Web Simply the presence of Steve Van Zandt, Garry Tallent, Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan—E Streeters for nearly all of the ensemble’s 50-plus years—is a bedrock tradition, and source of horseplay and looseness that can only come from such lifelong love among friends. Steve Hochman, SPIN, 15 Apr. 2024 The news release didn’t detail the violations but instead offered a wide range of conduct covered by the provisions — including demeaning language, unwelcome touching and potentially injurious horseplay. Dan Morse, Washington Post, 13 Mar. 2024 See what celebrities wore to New York Fashion Week, including Beyoncé’s surprise appearance in Brooklyn Out on the menswear runways in Paris in January, the horseplay didn’t stop. Leah Dolan, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 Shelby and Cyrus are among a small, unisex group of Reuben’s college pals summoned to his sprawling, creepy family manse for an evening of reminiscing and boozy horseplay away from the eyes of his fiancée Sophia (Aly Nordlie). Guy Lodge, Variety, 21 Jan. 2024 So, apparently, is literal horseplay and the discreet display of a future royal hoo-hoo. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 21 Nov. 2023 Unlike the hijinks and horseplay that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson got up to at Google in the 2013 comedy The Internship, the tasks that real life interns perform are serious and can involve working on critical parts or the business, the tech companies stress. Andrea Guzman, Fortune, 13 May 2023 And as initially played by Brauers with quiet good humor and thoughtfulness, Erik really does seem like the smartest and the most decent of the three, not participating in Thomas’ more vulgar horseplay, and trying to befriend the boy with protein bars and extra helpings of food. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 21 Dec. 2021 Yes, there is rowdy horseplay and a bit of mean-spirited hazing in the earlier episodes, but as the show moves into Season 2, the space is not only a literal changing room, but also a room for change that allows the players to grow, improve, bond and cope. Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'horseplay.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1589, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of horseplay was in 1589

Dictionary Entries Near horseplay

Cite this Entry

“Horseplay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


horse·​play ˈhȯr-ˌsplā How to pronounce horseplay (audio)
: rough or loud play

More from Merriam-Webster on horseplay

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