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
The play is based on a real-life event.
He wrote, directed, and starred in the play.
His fifth grade class is putting on a play about the first Thanksgiving.
I've gone to all of my daughter's school plays.
The book discusses the role of play in a child's development.
As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Please, no talking during play.
Rain held up play for an hour.
The chess match finally ended after three hours of play.
The two golfers were tied at the start of play yesterday. Verb
The children were playing in the yard.
Can Sara come out and play?
He played by himself in his room.
Did you play any sports in high school?
No one dares to play chess with him.
The children were playing hide-and-seek.
I have a chess set. Do you want to play?
It's your turn to play.
She hurt her wrist but decided to continue playing.
He played in every major tournament this year. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Damascus didn’t find itself in many long yardage situations during Friday night’s Class 3A semifinal at River Hill, but the Hornets had a special play in their book for the rare occurrence: a handoff to Dillon Dunathan.
Anthony Maluso, Baltimore Sun, 26 Nov. 2022 The Americans end group play on Tuesday against Iran, and a victory over Team Melli would guarantee no worse than a second-place U.S. finish and advancement.
Henry Austin, NBC News, 26 Nov. 2022 Felix LaHaye, the chief executive of United Esports, a gaming marketing agency, compared competitive play for e-sports organizations to a car company fielding a Formula One racing team — an expensive undertaking that draws eyeballs and prestige.
Kellen Browning, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2022 One play earlier, on second-and-15 from the Buffalo 47, Amon-Ra St. Brown was stopped inches short of a first down.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 25 Nov. 2022 Moreover, the Thunder play at the third-fastest pace, meaning there are more shots and rebounds overall.
Tanner Mcgrath, Chicago Tribune, 25 Nov. 2022 Now the Doors’ camp has come up with a suitable edit that skirts around that child’s play — and supplemented it with some other bluesy studio outtakes and a live mini-set that had the band joined on stage by guitar great Albert King.
Chris Willman, Variety, 25 Nov. 2022 Of the 11 starters against England, five play at EPL clubs.
Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2022 Plus the play of junior guard Shalexxus Aaron, whose 17 points was her OSU high.oregonlive, 25 Nov. 2022
Stanford is 3-16 in Pac-12 play the past two seasons, including consecutive losses to rival California.
Josh Dubow, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Nov. 2022 Stanford is 3-16 in Pac-12 play the past two seasons, including consecutive losses to rival California.
Josh Dubow, ajc, 27 Nov. 2022 Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals engage in an intriguing West Coast game while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns also play one another Sunday.
Richard Morin, USA TODAY, 27 Nov. 2022 However, Purdue defeated Indiana 30-16 to win the division title and will play Michigan next Saturday in Indianapolis.
Matt Carlson, Chicago Tribune, 27 Nov. 2022 Football fans are waiting to see where Beckham will play next.
Mirna Alsharif, NBC News, 27 Nov. 2022 The decision will be of little comfort to the students who have to scramble for a new school or choose to stay at Whittier but not play competitively.
Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2022 Nothing good, however, would come from another draw on the final day of Group B play Tuesday.
Steven Goff, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Nov. 2022 Here's what experts were saying this week about which bowl game Kentucky (6-5) will play in before Saturday's Governor's Cup.
Jake Adams, The Courier-Journal, 26 Nov. 2022 See More
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'play.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Middle English, from Old English plega; akin to Old English plegan to play, Middle Dutch pleyen
First Known Use
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a