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Pollice Verso (1872) by Jean-Léon Gérôme
Pollice Verso (1872) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

"Play it again, Sam"--Casablanca (1942)

"If you want something to play with go and find yourself a toy."

--"Tell It Like It Is" (1966) by Davis and Diamond

This page Play is part of the wit series.Illustration: House of Nonsense (1911), one of Blackpool's funhouse attractions
This page Play is part of the wit series.
Illustration: House of Nonsense (1911), one of Blackpool's funhouse attractions

Related e



Play may refer to:


  1. To act in a manner such that one has fun; to engage in activities expressly for the purpose of recreation or entertainment.
  2. To act as the indicated role, especially in a performance.
  3. To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate.
  4. To perform in (a sport); to participate in (a game).
  5. To take part in amorous activity; to make love.
  6. To move to and fro.
  7. To put in action or motion.
  8. To keep in play, as a hooked fish in order to land it.
  9. To manipulate, deceive, or swindle someone.


From Middle English pleyen, playen, pleȝen, plæien, also Middle English plaȝen, plawen (compare English plaw), from Old English pleġan, pleoġan, plæġan, and Old English plegian, pleagian, plagian (“to play, exercise, etc.”), from Proto-West Germanic *plehan (“to care about, be concerned with”) and Proto-West Germanic *plegōn (“to engage, move”); both perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *blek- (“to move, move about”), from Proto-Indo-European *bal- (compare Ancient Greek βλύω (blúō), βλύζω (blúzō, “I gush out, spring”), Sanskrit बल्बलीति (balbalīti, “it whirls, twirls”)). Cognate with Scots play (“to act or move briskly, cause to move, stir”), Saterland Frisian pleegje (“to look after, care for, maintain”), West Frisian pleegje, pliigje (“to commit, perform, bedrive”), Middle Dutch pleyen ("to dance, leap for joy, rejoice, be glad"; compare Modern Dutch pleien (“to play a particular children's game”)), Dutch plegen (“to commit, bedrive, practice”), German pflegen (“to care for, be concerned with, attend to, tend”). Related also to Old English plēon (“to risk, endanger”). More at plight, pledge.

The noun is from Middle English pleye, from Old English plæġ, plega, plæġa (“play, quick [ motion, movement, exercise; (athletic) sport, game; festivity, drama; battle; gear for games, an implement for a game; clapping with the hands, applause”), deverbative of plegian (“to play”); see above.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Play" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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