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2 definitions found
 for To play off
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Play \Play\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Played; p. pr. & vb. n.
     Playing.] [OE. pleien, AS. plegian, plegan, to play, akin
     to plega play, game, quick motion, and probably to OS. plegan
     to promise, pledge, D. plegen to care for, attend to, be
     wont, G. pflegen; of unknown origin. [root]28. Cf. Plight,
     n.]
     1. To engage in sport or lively recreation; to exercise for
        the sake of amusement; to frolic; to spot.
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              As Cannace was playing in her walk.   --Chaucer.
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              The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
              Had he thy reason, would he skip and play! --Pope.
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              And some, the darlings of their Lord,
              Play smiling with the flame and sword. --Keble.
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     2. To act with levity or thoughtlessness; to trifle; to be
        careless.
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              "Nay," quod this monk, "I have no lust to pleye."
                                                    --Chaucer.
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              Men are apt to play with their healths. --Sir W.
                                                    Temple.
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     3. To contend, or take part, in a game; as, to play ball;
        hence, to gamble; as, he played for heavy stakes.
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     4. To perform on an instrument of music; as, to play on a
        flute.
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              One that . . . can play well on an instrument.
                                                    --Ezek.
                                                    xxxiii. 32.
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              Play, my friend, and charm the charmer. --Granville.
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     5. To act; to behave; to practice deception.
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              His mother played false with a smith. --Shak.
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     6. To move in any manner; especially, to move regularly with
        alternate or reciprocating motion; to operate; to act; as,
        the fountain plays.
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              The heart beats, the blood circulates, the lungs
              play.                                 --Cheyne.
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     7. To move gayly; to wanton; to disport.
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              Even as the waving sedges play with wind. --Shak.
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              The setting sun
              Plays on their shining arms and burnished helmets.
                                                    --Addison.
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              All fame is foreign but of true desert,
              Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart.
                                                    --Pope.
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     8. To act on the stage; to personate a character.
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              A lord will hear your play to-night.  --Shak.
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              Courts are theaters where some men play. --Donne.
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     To play into a person's hands, to act, or to manage
        matters, to his advantage or benefit.
  
     To play off, to affect; to feign; to practice artifice.
  
     To play upon.
        (a) To make sport of; to deceive.
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                  Art thou alive?
                  Or is it fantasy that plays upon our eyesight.
                                                    --Shak.
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        (b) To use in a droll manner; to give a droll expression
            or application to; as, to play upon words.
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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Play \Play\, v. t.
     1. To put in action or motion; as, to play cannon upon a
        fortification; to play a trump.
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              First Peace and Silence all disputes control,
              Then Order plays the soul.            --Herbert.
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     2. To perform music upon; as, to play the flute or the organ.
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     3. To perform, as a piece of music, on an instrument; as, to
        play a waltz on the violin.
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     4. To bring into sportive or wanton action; to exhibit in
        action; to execute; as, to play tricks.
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              Nature here
              Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will
              Her virgin fancies.                   --Milton.
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     5. To act or perform (a play); to represent in music action;
        as, to play a comedy; also, to act in the character of; to
        represent by acting; to simulate; to behave like; as, to
        play King Lear; to play the woman.
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              Thou canst play the rational if thou wilt. --Sir W.
                                                    Scott.
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     6. To engage in, or go together with, as a contest for
        amusement or for a wager or prize; as, to play a game at
        baseball.
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     7. To keep in play, as a hooked fish, in order to land it.
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     To play hob, to play the part of a mischievous spirit; to
        work mischief.
  
     To play off, to display; to show; to put in exercise; as,
        to play off tricks.
  
     To play one's cards, to manage one's means or
        opportunities; to contrive.
  
     Played out, tired out; exhausted; at the end of one's
        resources. [Colloq.]
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