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play up - definition and synonyms

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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

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phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyplay up
he/she/itplays up
present participleplaying up
past tenseplayed up
past participleplayed up
Related words
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] British if children play up or play someone up, they behave badly in a way that they think is funny

    I’m exhausted! The children have been really playing up this afternoon.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to try to persuade people to believe that something is more important than it is
  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to cause difficulties or pain for someone

    The printer’s playing up again.

    My back’s been playing me up all day.

See also main entry: play


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

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a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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