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play - definition and synonyms


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noun play pronunciation in British English /pleɪ/
Word Forms
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  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?
    She writes radio and television plays.
    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.



a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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