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play - 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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noun     play pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] theatre a piece of writing intended to be performed by actors in a theatre or on television or the radio

    a West End play

    Have you seen Maggie Smith’s latest play?

    put on/perform a play:

    The school will be putting on a Shakespeare play this summer.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] activities that are done because they are enjoyable and fun, especially by children

    The infants have a play period right after lunch.

    at play:

    She watched the children at play in the park.

    1. a.
      [singular] the activity of playing for a period of time

      You can have a little play, and then it’s time for bed.

  3. 3
    [uncountable] the action in a sport or game

    The golf match was suspended during the storm, but play resumed later on.

    The wet and muddy conditions determined the style of play.

    1. a.
      [countable/uncountable] a particular action in a game, or the quality of the action

      That was good play by Henman.

  4. 4
    [uncountable] if there is play in something such as a rope, it is not stretched tight and you can move it
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a description of an economic or political situation based on analysis of information at the present time

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an unregulated form of capitalism that features financial deregulation, privatisation and low tax for high earners

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