From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
--"Tell It Like It Is" (1966) by Davis and Diamond
Play may refer to:
- Play (activity), enjoyed by animals and humans
- Play (theatre), structured literary form of theatre
- Play (play), written by Samuel Beckett
- To act in a manner such that one has fun; to engage in activities expressly for the purpose of recreation or entertainment.
- To act as the indicated role, especially in a performance.
- To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate.
- To perform in (a sport); to participate in (a game).
- To take part in amorous activity; to make love.
- To move to and fro.
- To put in action or motion.
- To keep in play, as a hooked fish in order to land it.
- 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.